For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Psychosocial work environment and mental health—a meta-analytic review"

by Stansfeld, Stephen; Candy, Bridget (2006)


[Objectives To clarify the associations between psychosocial work Stressors and mental ill health, a metaanalysis of psychosocial work Stressors and common mental disorders was undertaken using longitudinal studies identified through a systematic literature review. Methods The review used a standardized search strategy and strict inclusion and quality criteria in seven databases in 1994-2005. Papers were identified from 24 939 citations covering social determinants of health, 50 relevant papers were identified, 38 fulfilled inclusion criteria, and 11 were suitable for a meta-analysis. The Comprehensive Meta-analysis Programme was used for decision authority, decision latitude, psychological demands, and work social support, components of the job-strain and iso-strain models, and the combination of effort and reward that makes up the effort-reward imbalance model and job insecurity. Cochran's Q statistic assessed the heterogeneity of the results, and the I² statistic determined any inconsistency between studies. Results Job strain, low decision latitude, low social support, high psychological demands, effort-reward imbalance, and high job insecurity predicted common mental disorders despite the heterogeneity for psychological demands and social support among men. The strongest effects were found for job strain and effort-reward imbalance. Conclusions This meta-analysis provides robust consistent evidence that (combinations of) high demands and low decision latitude and (combinations of) high efforts and low rewards are prospective risk factors for common mental disorders and suggests that the psychosocial work environment is important for mental health. The associations are not merely explained by response bias. The impact of work Stressors on common mental disorders differs for women and men.]

Key Passage

The combination of high psychological demands and low decision latitude (job strain) and the combination of high effort at work and low reward (effort-reward imbalance) both demonstrate a consistently increased risk for common mental disorders. The odds ratios for common mental disorders in association with decision authority, decision latitude, job demands, social support, and job insecurity are more modest and may be partly confounded by earlier mental ill health. The heterogeneity of the odds ratios for social support and psycho- logical demands among men is unexplained although the different meaning and burden of demands according to social status may contribute to the heterogeneity be- tween studies of demands among men. (p.454)


Mental Health, Mental Disorders, Job Strain, Intellectual Flexibility, Reciprocity, Personality, Identity, Self, Distress, Psychology, Work Complexity


Psychological Centrality of Work

Links to Reference



How to contribute.