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Open Access Research

Effort-reward imbalance and its association with health among permanent and fixed-term workers

Mariko Inoue*, Shinobu Tsurugano, Mariko Nishikitani and Eiji Yano

Author Affiliations

Department of Hygiene and Public Health, School of Medicine, Teikyo University 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo, 173-8605, Japan

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BioPsychoSocial Medicine 2010, 4:16  doi:10.1186/1751-0759-4-16

Published: 5 November 2010

Abstract

Background

In the past decade, the changing labor market seems to have rejected the traditional standards employment and has begun to support a variety of non-standard forms of work in their place. The purpose of our study was to compare the degree of job stress, sources of job stress, and association of high job stress with health among permanent and fixed-term workers.

Methods

Our study subjects were 709 male workers aged 30 to 49 years in a suburb of Tokyo, Japan. In 2008, we conducted a cross-sectional study to compare job stress using an effort-reward imbalance (ERI) model questionnaire. Lifestyles, subjective symptoms, and body mass index were also observed from the 2008 health check-up data.

Results

The rate of job stress of the high-risk group measured by ERI questionnaire was not different between permanent and fixed-term workers. However, the content of the ERI components differed. Permanent workers were distressed more by effort, overwork, or job demand, while fixed-term workers were distressed more by their job insecurity. Moreover, higher ERI was associated with existence of subjective symptoms (OR = 2.07, 95% CI: 1.42-3.03) and obesity (OR = 2.84, 95% CI:1.78-4.53) in fixed-term workers while this tendency was not found in permanent workers.

Conclusions

Our study showed that workers with different employment types, permanent and fixed-term, have dissimilar sources of job stress even though their degree of job stress seems to be the same. High ERI was associated with existing subjective symptoms and obesity in fixed-term workers. Therefore, understanding different sources of job stress and their association with health among permanent and fixed-term workers should be considered to prevent further health problems.