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How Does the Presence of High Need for Recovery Affect the Association Between Perceived High Chronic Exposure to Stressful Work Demands and Work Productivity Loss?

Dewa, Carolyn S. MPH, PhD; Nieuwenhuijsen, Karen PhD; Sluiter, Judith K. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 6 - p 617–622
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000723
Original Articles

Objective: Employers have increasingly been interested in decreasing work stress. However, little attention has been given to recovery from the exertion experienced during work. This paper addresses the question: how does the presence of high need for recovery (HNFR) affect the association between perceived high chronic exposure to stressful work demands (PHCE) and work productivity loss (WPL)?.

Methods: Data were from a population-based survey of 2219 Ontario workers. The Work Limitations Questionnaire was used to measure WPL. The relationship between HNFR and WPL was examined using four multiple regression models.

Results: Our results indicate that HNFR affects the association between PHCE and WPL. They also suggest that PHCE alone significantly increases the risk of WPL.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that HNFR as well as PHCE could be an important factor for workplaces to target to increase worker productivity.

University of California, Davis, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Dewa); and Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Center (AMC), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Drs Nieuwenhuijsen, Sluiter).

Address correspondence to: Carolyn S. Dewa, MPH, PhD, Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2S1, Canada. (

Data collection for the dataset used in this paper was financially supported by a grant from Lundbeck Canada with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Interviewing and data assembly were completed by a private research firm, Malatest and Associates. Dr. Dewa gratefully acknowledges the support provided by her CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Chair (Grant # 86895). The funders had no role in the study design, data collection, analysis, or interpretation nor did the funders participate in the development of this manuscript or decision to submit the paper for publication.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine