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Original research
Psychosocial work stressors and risk of mortality in Australia: analysis of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey


Objective To examine the association between exposures to psychosocial work stressors and mortality in a nationally representative Australian working population sample.

Methods 18 000 participants from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey with self-reported job demands, job control, job security and fair pay psychosocial work stressors exposures at baseline were followed for up to 15 waves. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to examine the association between psychosocial work stressors and mortality. Models were serially adjusted for each subgroup of demographic, socioeconomic, health and behavioural risk factors.

Results Low job control was associated with a 39% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality (HR 1.39; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.85), controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, health and behavioural factors. A decreased risk of mortality was observed for workers with exposure to high job demands (HR 0.76; 95% CI 0.60 to 0.96, adjusted for gender and calendar), but the risk was attenuated after serially adjusting for socioeconomic status, health (HR=0.84; 95% CI 0.65 to 1.08) and behavioural (HR=0.79; 95% CI 0.60 to 1.04) factors. There did not appear to be an association between exposure to job insecurity (HR 1.03; 95% CI 0.79 to 1.33) and mortality, or unfair pay and mortality (HR 1.04; 95% CI 0.80 to 1.34).

Conclusions Low job control may be associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality. Policy and practice interventions that reduce the adverse impact of low job control in stressful work environments could be considered to improve health and decrease risk of mortality.

  • epidemiology
  • statistics
  • longitudinal studies
  • mortality studies
  • workload

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