Linking decent work with physical and mental health: A psychology of working perspective

Ryan D. Duffy, Haram J. Kim, Nicholas P. Gensmer, Trisha L. Raque-Bogdan, Richard P. Douglass, Jessica W. England, Aysenur Buyukgoze-Kavas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Drawing from a psychology of working perspective, the current study examined links between decent work and health among a sample (N = 497) of employed adults with an annual household income under $50,000. A theory driven mediation model was tested positioning decent work as a predictor of mental and physical health via need satisfaction at work. Decent work strongly predicted survival, social contribution, and self-determination need satisfaction. Regarding mental health, hypotheses were mainly supported as all three need satisfactions mediated the link of decent work to mental health. Regarding physical health, hypotheses were partially supported as only survival needs partially mediated this relation. Overall, findings suggest that securing decent work may promote increased mental health primarily because work is meeting individual needs and may promote physical health - in part - by helping meet survival needs. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-395
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Decent work
  • Health
  • Need satisfaction
  • Psychology of working


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