Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 28: The Effects of Effort–Reward Imbalance at Work on Health
28 The eﬀects of eﬀort–reward imbalance at work on health Johannes Siegrist, Bianca Falck and Ljiljana Joksimovic Introduction The importance of work for health goes beyond traditional occupational diseases. Given the far-reaching changes in the nature of work in advanced societies, health-adverse psychosocial work environments are becoming more prevalent. These psychosocial work environments are characterized by work pressure, frequent interruptions, information overload and a low level of task control or autonomy. Irregular working hours, shift work and exposure to noise may aggravate adversity, as is the case with threats of job instability and redundancy, forced mobility and the prospects of involuntary retirement. As will be discussed, these psychosocial work factors aﬀect people’s health and well-being, and this needs to be considered under the purview of occupational health. Why is work so important for human well-being? How does work contribute to the burden of stress and its adverse eﬀects on health? In all advanced societies work and occupation in adult life are accorded primacy for the following reasons. First, having a job is often a prerequisite for continuous income and, thus, for independence from traditional support systems (family, community welfare and so on). Moreover level of income determines a wide range of life’ opportunities. Secondly, training for a job and achieving an appropriate occupational status are important parts of socialization. It is through education, job training and status acquisition that personal growth and development are realized, a core social identity outside the family is acquired, and...
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