Objective: To examine the impact of occupational role conflict and emotional demands on subsequent psychological distress.
Methods: A randomly drawn cohort from the general Norwegian working-age population was followed up for 3 years (n = 12,550; response rate = 67%). Eligible respondents were in paid work during the reference week in 2006 and 2009 or temporarily absent from such work (n = 6,745; response rate = 68%).
Results: In the fully adjusted model, both high role conflict (odds ratios = 1.53; 95% CI = 1.15 to 2.03) and high emotional demands (odds ratios = 1.38; 95% CI = 1.13 to 1.69) were significant predictors of psychological distress. Additional significant predictors were low job control, bullying/harassment, and job insecurity (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Considering all of the evaluated work-related factors, role conflict and emotional demands contributed the most to the population risk of developing psychological distress.