Workplace injustice and self-reported disease and absenteeism in South Korea

Authors

  • Jin-Young Min PhD,

    1. Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Shin-Goo Park MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Republic of Korea
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  • Seung-Sup Kim MD, ScD,

    1. Department of Healthcare Management, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Kyoung-Bok Min MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Republic of Korea
    • Correspondence to: Kyoung-Bok Min, MD, PhD, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine, San 5, Wonchon-dong, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon 443-721, Republic of Korea.

      E-mail: mink1999@ajou.ac.kr

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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

Abstract

Background

This study investigated whether experience of workplace injustice was associated with self-reported occupational health using a nationally representative sample of Korean workers.

Methods

We used the first wave of the Korean Working Conditions Survey (KWCS) and included 7,007 wage employees as the study population. Workplace injustice included the experience of discrimination, violence, or harassment, and occupational health was measured as self-reported health problems and absenteeism. Personal, occupational, and job-related characteristics were included as covariates.

Results

An average of 7.2% of workers reported experiencing at least one workplace injustice over the past 12 months. Female workers were significantly more likely to experience age and gender discrimination, and unwanted sexual attention than male workers. Both male and female workers who experienced any workplace injustice (i.e., discrimination, harassment, or violence) reported approximately two- to threefold increased risk for physical and mental health problems (i.e., backaches, muscular pain, stomach pain, overall fatigue, headaches, anxiety/depression, sleeping problems, and injury) and absenteeism due to accidents or due to health problems.

Conclusion

Perceived injustice at work was significantly associated with an increased risk of occupational disease and absenteeism for Korean wage employees. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:87–96, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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