Table 1

Summary of observational studies of associations between work factors and ill health: health care workers in UK

StudyDesignParticipantsResponse rateWork factorsOutcomesResults
Agius et al, 19967Cross sectional375 consultant doctors75%Work demandsEmotional exhaustion (MBI)High academic work demands associated with low emotional exhaustion (r=−0.14, p<0.05)
Baglioni et al, 19908Cross sectional475 senior nurses80%WorkloadMental health (CCEI)No association
Baldwin et al, 19979Longitudinal142 junior doctors95%Long hoursPsychological distress (GHQ-28)No association overall; association with somatic symptoms, r=0.24
Cooper et al, 198810Cross sectional484 dentists85%Time pressures, pay stressors and technical problemsMental health (CCEI)Time pressures, pay stressors and technical problems associated with poor mental health (respective Bs=0.24, 0.20, 0.12; F=20.54, p<0.001)
Deary et al, 199611Cross sectional333 consultant doctors67%Clinical workloadPsychological distress (GHQ-28), emotional exhaustion (MBI)High clinical workload associated with emotional exhaustion (χ2 for model=30.31, p=0.11, satisfactory fit)
Heyworth et al, 199312Cross sectional201 trainee and consultant doctors72%Task clarity, supportive communicationDepression (CES-D)Task clarity and supportive communication associated with lower depression (r=−0.51 and −0.36 respectively, p=0.0001)
Parkes, 198213Experimental164 student nurses97%Job demand, discretion, social supportAnxiety (GHQ), depression (CCEI), sickness absenceAnxiety and depression associated with low job discretion and job support (r=−0.30 and −0.35 for anxiety and −0.26 and −0.36 for depression) and job demand was negatively associated with sickness absence (r=−0.24)
Quine, 199914Cross sectional1100 health care workers70%BullyingAnxiety, depression (HADS)Bullying associated with higher anxiety (30% v 9%, p<0.001) and depression (8% v 1%, p<0.001)
Rees and Cooper, 199215Cross sectional1176 health care workers67%Control over work (OSI)Sickness absenceNo association
Sutherland and Cooper, 199316Cross sectional917 family doctors61%Job demandsAnxiety, depression and somatic anxiety (CCEI)Associations with anxiety (beta=0.17) depression (beta=0.28) and somatic anxiety (beta=0.23)
Tyler and Cushway, 199217Cross sectional72 nurses60%Workload, conflict, social supportPsychological distress (GHQ 28)GHQ predicted by managing the workload (beta=0.32)