The association of job strain and health behaviours in men and women

Wendy L Hellerstedt, Robert W Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


Background. This study examined whether self-reported job strain, defined by the Karasek model, was associated with some early, potentially modifiable cardiovascular (CVD)-related health characteristics. Methods. Data were gathered in a 1989 cross-sectional survey of 3843 randomly selected men and women employees of 32 worksites in Minnesota. Sex-stratified crude and multivariate analyses examined the independent association of job psychological demands, latitude, and the combination of these two job domains (i.e. strain), to body mass index (BMI), smoking, exercise, and dietary fat intake. Results. Job demands was positively associated with smoking, smoking intensity, and high fat intake in men and with BMI and smoking intensity in women. Job latitude was positively associated with exercise in men and women. High-strain men smokers smoked more than other workers and high-strain women had higher BMI than other women. Conclusions. Overall, self-reported job demands, latitude, and job strain were associated with some CVD-related health characteristics, but the effects were not similar in magnitude or direction for all characteristics and they varied by sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1997


  • Body mass index
  • Dietary fat
  • Job strain
  • Physical activity
  • Smoking


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