Objective and subjective work monotony: effects on job satisfaction, psychological distress, and absenteeism in blue-collar workers

J Appl Psychol. 1995 Feb;80(1):29-42. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.80.1.29.


The relation of objective work conditions (work underload, repetitive or varied work) and subjective monotony to job satisfaction, psychological distress, and sickness absence was examined in 1,278 male and female workers. Subjective monotony was moderately related to the objective work conditions. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that the effects on all outcomes were partially mediated by subjective monotony and were also directly related to repetitive work and work underload. Job satisfaction and psychological distress were mainly related to subjective monotony, whereas sickness absence was equally related to the work conditions and subjective monotony. The highest impact was observed for short-cycle repetitive work. Testing sex interactions revealed that sickness absence was related to the work conditions in women but not in men. The findings highlight the significance of noting the actual work conditions in predicting employee outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adult
  • Boredom*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological*