This study describes the levels of job stress amongst intellectuals in China, analyzes the association between job stress and health, and factors influencing job stress. Self-completed questionnaires were used to survey the participants. Descriptive statistics applied to describe the levels of job stress in the populations. Logistic regression was performed to estimate relative risk (RR) of each health outcome. Stepwise multiple regression analyses were conducted to analyze the factors influencing job stress. The total scores means in male and female were 143.81 and 141.70, respectively. The relative risks of high job stress level for peptic ulcer, depression, anxiousness, bad temper, sleep disturbances, fatigue, having a poor appetite and backache, adjusted for age, sex and smoking, are 1.86, 6.55, 14.16, 7.09, 2.05, 1.75, 2.52 and 1.70 (p < 0.05), respectively. At the significance level α = 0.05, the eight factors were selected into the models. Our results may suggest that the intellectuals in China have suffered a high risk of high level of job stress, and this stress has impacted on their bodily and mental health. Living a colorful life, enhancing physical activities and improving social support are active and effective coping tactics. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.