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Keywords:

  • mental health;
  • psychosocial factors;
  • occupational disease

Abstract

Background

A combined measure of two common psychosocial stressors, called job pressure has previously been shown to be strongly associated with poor mental health in high status workers. This study tests the generalizability of this association to lower status workers.

Methods

A national random sample of cleaners and clerical workers was obtained from the New Zealand (NZ) electoral roll by occupational title (n = 596). Cross-sectional data on job stressors, demographics, and mental health (GHQ-12) was collected by computer-assisted telephone interviews.

Results

Combined exposure to low job control, high job demands, and job insecurity (high job pressure) was associated with markedly elevated odds (13-fold or higher) of poor mental health after adjustment for age, sex, occupation, and education.

Conclusion

Combined with previous findings this suggests simultaneous exposure to more than one occupational psychosocial stressor may greatly increase the risk of poor mental health among both lower and higher status workers. This report adds to the larger literature in this area, supporting the need for expanded policy and practice intervention to reduce job stressors across the working population. Am. J. Ind. Med. 54:405–409, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.