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Longitudinal Determinants of Energy Levels in Knowledge Workers

Arnetz, Bengt B. MD, PhD; Broadbridge, Carissa L. PhD; Ghosh, Samiran PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 1 - p 79–85
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000029
Original Articles

Objective: Increasingly, workers in the service, welfare, and health care sectors suffer adverse effects (ie, depression, burnout, etc) of “low-energy syndromes.” Less is known about energy-based outcomes among knowledge workers. This study aimed to identify determinants of self-rated energy in knowledge workers and examine how these determinants change over time.

Methods: In collaboration with a large union and employer federation, 317 knowledge workers in Sweden responded to the health and productivity survey three times.

Results: At each assessment, worry, satisfaction with eating habits, and work-effectiveness were predictive of energy levels; however, only work-effectiveness covaried with energy over time.

Conclusions: This study suggests that perceived work-effectiveness is an important factor in preventing knowledge workers from experiencing “low-energy syndromes.” Lifestyle factors also play a role. Therefore, multifaceted interventions for increasing energy are needed.

From the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences (Drs Arnetz, Broadbridge, and Ghosh), Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, and Cardiovascular Research Institute (Dr Arnetz), Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Dr Arnetz), and Department of Psychology (Dr Broadbridge), Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics (Dr Ghosh), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences (Dr Ghosh), Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich; and Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences (Dr Arnetz), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Address correspondence to: Carissa L. Broadbridge, PhD, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, Wayne State University, School of Medicine, 3939 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 (

The study was financed by Alecta, an occupational pension and insurance specialist based in Sweden. Dr Arnetz was also supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (award numbers R01MH085793 and R34MH086943).

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health, Unionen, or Almega.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine