Objectives: Studies of the health effects of job strain have focused on morbidity and mortality as outcomes. This is the first study to examine the relationship of job strain to more comprehensive health status measures that encompass health-related quality of life.
Methods: In a national cross-sectional survey, 1319 working men and women, aged 18 through 64 years, completed a modified version of the Job Content Questionnaire that classified workers' jobs into four categories: high strain, passive, low strain, and active. Subjects also completed the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form Health Survey and a health distress scale. Logistic regression analyses were employed that controlled for age, race/ethnicity, gender, and education. Both work and nonwork variables were included.
Results: Job strain was significantly associated with five of nine components of health-related quality of life: physical functioning, role functioning related to physical health, vitality, social functioning, and mental health. Job strain made a modest yet statistically significant contribution beyond the effects of chronic illness and psychosocial variables.
Conclusions: The results provide justification for further investigating the role of job strain as an independent risk factor for health-related quality of life.