Is there a two-way relationship between cynicism and job strain? Evidence from a prospective population-based study

J Occup Environ Med. 2015 May;57(5):479-84. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000430.


Objective: To examine the bidirectional relationship between job strain and cynicism.

Methods: The study sample was obtained from the Young Finns study and comprised 757 participants (399 women, 53%). The bidirectional association between cynicism and job strain over a 6-year-follow-up was examined with a cross-lagged structural equation model, controlling for a number of demographic variables.

Results: High job strain (β = 0.08; P = 0.007) was associated with higher baseline-adjusted cynicism 6 years later. Nevertheless, cynicism was not associated with baseline-adjusted job strain. The additional analysis showed that cynicism mediated 21.5% of the relationship between job strain and depression.

Conclusions: Perceptions of having a highly strenuous job may elicit mistrustful and cynical attitudes in employees, which in turn may lead to mental health problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Models, Statistical
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychological Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires