[Psychosocial factors at work and cardiovascular diseases: contribution of the Effort-Reward Imbalance model]

Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 1998 Nov;46(5):398-410.
[Article in French]


The effect of psychosocial factors at work on health, especially cardiovascular health, has given rise to growing concern in occupational epidemiology over the last few years. Two theoretical models, Karasek's model and the Effort-Reward Imbalance model, have been developed to evaluate psychosocial factors at work within specific conceptual frameworks in an attempt to take into account the serious methodological difficulties inherent in the evaluation of such factors. Karasek's model, the most widely used model, measures three factors: psychological demands, decision latitude and social support at work. Many studies have shown the predictive effects of these factors on cardiovascular diseases independently of well-known cardiovascular risk factors. More recently, the Effort-Reward Imbalance model takes into account the role of individual coping characteristics which was neglected in the Karasek model. The effort-reward imbalance model focuses on the reciprocity of exchange in occupational life where high-cost/low-gain conditions are considered particularly stressful. Three dimensions of rewards are distinguished: money, esteem and gratifications in terms of promotion prospects and job security. Some studies already support that high-effort/low reward-conditions are predictive of cardiovascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Reward*
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Work*
  • Workload