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Examining Associations Between Job Characteristics and Health: Linking Data From the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to Two U.S. National Health Surveys

Alterman, Toni PhD; Grosch, James PhD; Chen, Xiao MS, MD; Chrislip, David BA; Petersen, Martin PhD; Krieg, Edward Jr PhD; Chung, Haejoo RPh, MSc; Muntaner, Carles MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 12 - p 1401-1413
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318188e882
Original Articles

Objective: To determine whether the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database can be used to identify job dimensions to serve as proxy measures for psychosocial factors and select environmental factors, and to determine whether these factors could be linked to national health surveys to examine associations with health risk behaviors and outcomes.

Methods: Job characteristics were obtained from O*NET 98. Health outcomes were obtained from two national surveys. Data were linked using Bureau of Census codes. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine associations between O*NET factors and cardiovascular disease, depression, and health risk factors.

Results: Seven of nine work organization or psychosocial factors were significantly associated with health risk behaviors in both the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III and National Health Interview Survey.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates a method for linking independently obtained health and job characteristic data based on occupational code.

From the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies (Dr Alterman, Dr Chen, Dr Petersen), Division of Applied Research and Technology (Dr Grosch, Mr Chrislip, Dr Krieg), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Cincinnati, Ohio; and Center for Addiction and Mental Health (Ms Chung, Dr Muntaner), University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

Address correspondence to Toni Alterman, PhD, NIOSH (MS-R17), 5555 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, OH 45213; E-mail:

Copyright © 2008 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine