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Measuring change in psychosocial working conditions: methodological issues to consider when data are collected at baseline and one follow-up time point
  1. P Smith1,2,
  2. D Beaton1,3,4
  1. 1
    Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
  2. 2
    Institute for Medical Science, University of Toronto, Canada
  3. 3
    Mobility Program Clinical Research Unit, St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada
  4. 4
    Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Canada
  1. Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health, 481 University Ave, Suite 800, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2E9; psmith{at}


If policy makers and employers are to take health issues into account when making decisions that will impact on work practices and work environments, they will need accurate information concerning the impact change in psychosocial working conditions has on health status. Although research is increasing in this area, a variety of different methods have been used to define when change in work conditions has occurred. The present paper considers various issues related to the accurate assessment of change in psychosocial working conditions, focusing on research designs that involve the collection of data at baseline and a single follow-up time point. The aim is to inform investigators about these methodological issues so they can be considered in the design of studies, the analysis of data and the interpretation of research findings.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • i Note that α estimates for the total OCHS study population (n = 1611) for the same work stress dimensions were generally lower than T-RT scores (skill discretion = 0.80, decision authority = 0.74 and job control = 0.85).

  • ii The then-test simply asks respondents, at follow-up, to rate their level on a particular domain at baseline (eg, considering how you are now, how would you rate your level of X at baseline?)

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