JOURNAL ARTICLE

Importance of psychosocial work factors on general health outcomes in the national French SUMER survey

Isabelle Niedhammer, Jean-François Chastang, Simone David
Occupational Medicine 2008, 58 (1): 15-24
17965447

AIM: To examine the associations between psychosocial work factors and general health outcomes, taking into account other occupational risk factors, within the national French working population.

METHODS: The study was based on a large national sample of 24 486 women and men of the French working population who filled in a self-administered questionnaire in 2003 (response rate: 96.5%). Psychosocial work exposures included psychological demands, decision latitude, social support, workplace bullying and violence from the public. The three health indicators studied were self-reported health, long sickness absence (>8 days of absence) and work injury. Adjustment was made for covariates: age, occupation, work status, working hours, time schedules, physical, ergonomic, biological and chemical exposures. Men and women were studied separately.

RESULTS: Low levels of decision latitude, and of social support, and high psychological demands were found to be risk factors for poor self-reported health and long sickness absence. High demands were also found to be associated with work injury. Workplace bullying and/or violence from the public also increased the risk of poor health, long sickness absence and work injury.

CONCLUSION: Psychosocial work factors were found to be strong risk factors for health outcomes; the results were unchanged after adjustment for other occupational risk factors. Preventive efforts should be intensified towards reducing these psychosocial work exposures.

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