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Low organisational justice and heavy drinking: a prospective cohort study
  1. Anne Kouvonen1,
  2. Mika Kivimäki2,3,
  3. Marko Elovainio4,
  4. Ari Väänänen3,
  5. Roberto De Vogli2,
  6. Tarja Heponiemi4,
  7. Anne Linna3,
  8. Jaana Pentti3,
  9. Jussi Vahtera3
  1. 1
    Institute of Work, Health & Organisations, University of Nottingham, UK
  2. 2
    Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3
    Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  4. 4
    National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES), Helsinki, Finland
  1. Dr Anne Kouvonen, Institute of Work, Health & Organisations, University of Nottingham, 8 William Lee Buildings, Nottingham Science and Technology Park, University Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 2RQ, UK; anne.kouvonen{at}


Objectives: To investigate whether low perceived organisational injustice predicts heavy drinking among employees.

Methods: Data from a prospective occupational cohort study, the 10-Town Study, on 15 290 Finnish public sector local government employees nested in 2432 work units, were used. Non-drinkers were excluded. Procedural, interactional and total organisational justice, heavy drinking (⩾210 g of absolute alcohol per week) and other psychosocial factors were determined by means of questionnaire in 2000–2001 (phase 1) and 2004 (phase 2). Multilevel logistic regression analyses taking into account the hierarchical structure of the data were conducted and adjustments were made for sex, age, socio-economic status, marital status, baseline heavy drinking, psychological distress and other psychosocial risk factors such as job strain and effort/reward imbalance.

Results: After adjustments, participants who reported low procedural justice at phase 1 were approximately 1.2 times more likely to be heavy drinkers at phase 2 compared with their counterparts reporting high justice. Low perceived justice in interpersonal treatment and low perceived total organisational justice were associated with increased prevalence of heavy drinking only in the model adjusted for sociodemographics.

Conclusions: This is the first longitudinal study to show that low procedural justice is weakly associated with an increased likelihood of heavy drinking.

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  • Competing interests: None.