[Skip to Navigation]
June 1997

Psychosocial Correlates of Job Strain in a Sample of Working Women

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Williams, Barefoot, Blumenthal, Siegler, and Suarez, Mr Helms, and Ms Luecken) and Community and Family Medicine (Dr Pieper), Behavioral Medicine Research Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(6):543-548. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830180061007

Background:  This study identifies potential mediators of job strain effects on health by determining whether psychosocial factors known to predict an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality are higher among women who report high levels of job strain.

Methods:  Measures of job strain and other psychosocial risk factors were obtained in a sample of 152 female employees of a local corporation. Canonical correlation and analyses of covariance were used to assess relationships between job demands and decision latitude and other psychosocial risk factors.

Results:  A significant (P=.002) solution to the canonical correlation analysis showed that high job demands and low decision latitude were correlated with a pattern of psychosocial factors consisting of (1) increased levels of negative emotions like anxiety, anger, depression, and hostility; (2) reduced levels of social support; and (3) a preponderance of negative compared with positive feelings in dealings with coworkers and supervisors. This pattern was confirmed by analyses of covariance that adjusted for demographic and specific job characteristics.

Conclusions:  The canonical correlation analysis results provide empirical support for the job strain construct. The most important finding is that health-damaging psychosocial factors like job strain, depression, hostility, anxiety, and social isolation tend to cluster in certain individuals.

Add or change institution