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Are job stress models capturing important dimensions of the psychosocial work environment?
  1. Renée Bourbonnais
  1. Dr R Bourbonnais, Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Québec, G1K 7P4, Canada; renee.bourbonnais{at}rea.ulaval.ca

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Are high effort-reward imbalance and organisational injustice complementary risk factors?

Many studies have documented the effect of adverse work organisation factors on the health of employees. Karasek’s job demand-control model1 and Siegrist’s effort-reward imbalance model2 identify psychosocial factors in the work environment whose effects on physical and mental health have been the most frequently documented. Poor social support at work from colleagues and supervisors is another adverse factor identified by Johnson3 extending the job demand-control model. According to this model, the highest risk of illness is assumed to be related to iso-strain jobs, characterised by high demands, low job control and low social support. Studies suggest that both models have a complementary contribution to the identification of adverse work organisation factors. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of high-quality prospective studies of workers’ perception of their work environment provides robust consistent evidence that combinations of high demands and low decision latitude, and high efforts and low rewards, are prospective risk factors for common mental health disorders.4

The study of organisational justice is a recent attempt to identify a third model of psychosocial determinants of employees’ health; it refers to problems with procedural and relational justice. Relational justice concerns the way supervisors treat their employees with respect and fairness whereas procedural justice involves the fairness of formal decision-making procedures. Several epidemiological studies have reported an association between procedural and/or relational injustice and adverse health. In addition, the extent to which people are treated in workplaces seems to predict their health independently of established stressors at work (high …

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