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Mental Health Effects of Changes in Psychosocial Work Characteristics: A Prospective Cohort Study

De Raeve, Lore MSc; Vasse, Rineke M. PhD; Jansen, Nicole W.H. PhD; van den Brandt, Piet A. PhD; Kant, IJmert PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2007 - Volume 49 - Issue 8 - p 890-899
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31811eadd3
Original Articles

Objective: To explore a possible causal relationship between psychosocial work characteristics and mental health.

Methods: Using longitudinal data from the Maastricht Cohort Study on “Fatigue at Work” (n = 2332), the effects of changes in job demands and decision latitude on subsequent changes in need for recovery and prolonged fatigue were studied.

Results: Increasing job demands are a significant predictor of a subsequent increase in need for recovery (β = 0.063) and prolonged fatigue (β = 0.057). An increase in decision latitude predicted a subsequent decrease in need for recovery (β = −0.078) and prolonged fatigue (β = −0.063). After adjusting for changes in other work characteristics, the effects on changes in prolonged fatigue were no longer significant.

Conclusion: These findings support a possible causal relationship between work characteristics and mental health and can be used for designing effective prevention and intervention strategies.

From the Departments of Epidemiology (Drs De Raeve, Jansen, van den Brandt, Kant) and Health Organization Policy and Economics (Dr Vasse), Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Address correspondence to: Lore De Raeve, MSc, Maastricht University, Department of Epidemiology, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands; E-mail:

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine