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Is there support for curvilinear relationships between psychosocial work characteristics and mental well-being? Cross-sectional and long-term data from the Whitehall II study

Rydstedt, LW; Ferrie, J; Head, J; (2006) Is there support for curvilinear relationships between psychosocial work characteristics and mental well-being? Cross-sectional and long-term data from the Whitehall II study. WORK STRESS , 20 (1) 6 - 20. 10.1080/02678370600668119.

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Abstract

This study aimed to test whether curvilinearity would add explanatory power to the long-term relationships between job characteristics and mental well-being. The study was based on cross-sectional and longitudinal data from phases 3 and 5 of the Whitehall II sample (N = 4154 for job satisfaction and 6000 for context-free mental well-being, mean follow-up 5.8 years). The curvilinear components of the job characteristics were introduced after controlling for the baseline outcome measure, demographic factors, and the linear measures of the job characteristics. The cross-sectional analyses showed only a curvilinear association with the expected U-shape between job demands and context-free mental well-being. The longitudinal analyses showed no curvilinear relationships between the job characteristics and context-free mental well-being. While small non-linear relationships were found between social support and decision latitude and job-related mental well-being, the shape of these relationships was the reverse of that expected. Post hoc analyses revealed that only the positive segment of the relationship between decision latitude and job satisfaction was significant, while both segments of the relationship between social support and job satisfaction were significant. The findings from this study, based on a large sample with high variety in working conditions, provide little support for the assumption of curvilinearity in the long-term relationship between psychosocial working conditions and mental well-being. This has practical implications, as if associations are linear this would indicate that it would be reasonable to take a population (rather than individually targeted) approach to stress management interventions.

Type: Article
Title: Is there support for curvilinear relationships between psychosocial work characteristics and mental well-being? Cross-sectional and long-term data from the Whitehall II study
DOI: 10.1080/02678370600668119
Keywords: curvilinearity, demand-control-support model, mental health, Whitehall II, vitamin model, work-related stress, SECONDARY-SCHOOL TEACHERS, BRITISH CIVIL-SERVANTS, HEALTH-CARE WORKERS, OCCUPATIONAL STRESS, DECISION LATITUDE, VITAMIN MODEL, JOB DEMANDS, TOO
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/111810
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