Injustice at work affects work ability and role functioning: findings of a cohort study

Int J Public Health. 2018 May;63(4):447-456. doi: 10.1007/s00038-017-1056-4. Epub 2017 Nov 14.


Objectives: The aim was to analyze the longitudinal effects of organizational injustice (OIJ) and effort-reward imbalance (ERI) on work ability, emotional role functioning and physical role functioning.

Methods: Longitudinal data with a two-year follow-up of people previously receiving sickness absence benefits were used for analyses. OIJ and ERI were included separately and mutually in logistic regression models. Effects were tested for additivity. All analyses were additionally performed stratified by sex. All models were adjusted for sociodemographics and neuroticism.

Results: 1886 participants (44.5% men, mean age: 48 years) were included. When mutually adjusted, OIJ and ERI affected work ability, and OIJ affected emotional role functioning. In stratified analyses, OIJ affected all outcomes in women, and ERI affected work ability in men. Additive effects of OIJ and ERI were not identified.

Conclusions: OIJ and ERI are important risk factors of limited participation. People with experiences of health-related and work-related impairments are in need of reliable structures and just working conditions.

Keywords: Effort–reward imbalance; Longitudinal design; Organizational justice; Role functioning; Work ability.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional Competence / statistics & numerical data
  • Professional Role / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Workplace / psychology*
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*