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Effort-reward-imbalance, overcommitment and self-reported health: Is it the interaction that matters?


Correspondence should be addressed to Joachim E. Fischer, Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Ludolf-Krehl-Str 7-11, D-68167 Mannheim, Germany (e-mail:


In recent years, the effort-reward-imbalance (ERI) model has become widely used as a framework for examining job characteristics and employee's health. The present study tested the predictive validity of the ERI model's components - ERI, over-commitment (OC) and their interaction - on the basis of self-reported health outcomes. In a cross-sectional study, data were obtained from 1,587 employees working in the aircraft manufacturing industry in southern Germany. Results suggested that all components of the ERI model (effort-reward-ratio, effort, reward and over-commitment) are associated with health-related quality of life, vital exhaustion, depression and quality of sleep. The separate variables effort and reward explained more of the observed variance than the effort-reward ratio. No interaction between ERI and OC in predicting measurements of self-reported health could be found. The findings suggest (1) that the ERI ratio does not provide more information than the separate use of the variables effort and reward, and (2) that there are main effects of ERI and OC but no interaction effect on employees' health. Implications for theory and applied research are discussed.