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Justice at Work and Metabolic Syndrome: the Whitehall II Study
  1. David Gimeno1,*,
  2. Ádám G Tabák1,
  3. Jane E Ferrie1,
  4. Martin J Shipley1,
  5. Roberto De Vogli1,
  6. Marko Elovainio2,
  7. Jussi Vahtera3,
  8. Michael G Marmot1,
  9. Mika Kivimäki1
  1. 1 UCL, United Kingdom;
  2. 2 National Research and Development Centre of Welfare and Health (STAKES), United Kingdom;
  3. 3 innish Institute of Occupational Health, United Kingdom
  1. Correspondence to: David Gimeno, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom; d.gimeno{at}


Objectives: Growing evidence shows that high levels of justice are beneficial for employee health, although biological mechanisms underlying this association are yet to be clarified. We aim to test whether high justice at work protects against metabolic syndrome.

Methods: A prospective cohort study of 20 civil service departments in London (the Whitehall II study) including 6123 male and female British civil servants aged 35 to 55 years without prevalent CHD at baseline (1985-1990). Perceived justice at work was determined by means of questionnaire on two occasions between 1985 and 1990. Follow-up for metabolic syndrome and its components occurring from 1990 through 2004 was based on clinical assessments on three occasions over more than 18 years.

Results: Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for age, ethnicity and employment grade showed that men who experienced a high level of justice at work had a lower risk of incident metabolic syndrome than employees with a low level of justice (hazard ratio 0.75; 95% confidence interval: 0.63-0.89). There was little evidence of an association between organizational justice and metabolic syndrome or its components in women (hazard ratio 0.88; 95%CI: 0.67-1.17).

Conclusions: Our prospective findings provide evidence of an association between high levels of justice at work and the development of metabolic syndrome in men.

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