Just After Completion: Does Chronic Work Stress Matter? Trajectories of Working-Conditions and Employees Health and Well-Being 10-Years Later

Igic, Ivana; Keller, Anita; Elfering, Achim; Kälin, Wolfgang; Tschan, Franziska; Semmer-Tschan, Norbert (13 April 2016). Just After Completion: Does Chronic Work Stress Matter? Trajectories of Working-Conditions and Employees Health and Well-Being 10-Years Later (Unpublished). In: 12th EAOHP Conference - "Occupational Health Psychology in Times of Change: Society and the Workplace". Athens, Greece. 11.04.-13.04.2016.

Stressful working conditions have been linked to various health impairments in cross-sectional
and longitudinal studies and chronic and long-lasting stress reactions are assumed to be
particularly harmful to human health and well-being and even at least partially irreversible (e.g.
“accumulation model” by Frese & Zapf, 1988). The number of the longitudinal studies has been
growing in the last decade, however there is a lack of studies that explicitly address:
1) The history of exposure to work characteristics (cumulative exposure) over longer time;
2) Irreversibility or chronification of health effects due to exposure to conditions at work over
Studies that include history of exposure to work conditions over longer period usually
operationalized it by defining the subgroups of individuals determined by number of waves in
which they were exposed to favorable vs. unfavorable working characteristics, and compere
them in regard to health indicators. This kind of analysis is great improvement over the
“common” longitudinal studies; nevertheless, there are some methodological weaknesses of
this kind of operationalization (e.g. dichotomization of one quantitative measure to predefine
whether one has high or low level of work demands).
The irreversibility of the effects has almost never been tested. To analyze the irreversibility the
distinction between concurrent vs. chronic stressors seems to be of importance. The working
conditions that are unfavorable in the every wave are also unfavorable in the wave when the
outcomes were assessed. Therefore its important to explore does effects still remains
significant after adjustment for the level of current working conditions.
The study is based on ten-year longitudinal data (5-waves) among young workers in five
occupations over their first ten years in the labor market (n=483). We applied latent growth
mixture modeling (GMM) to estimate the history of exposure to work characteristics. GMM
estimated different long-term growth curves formed by five task-related stressors, job control,
and the social stressors. It was tested if four outcomes in t5 differ between trajectories,
adjusted for the baseline value of the respective outcome and cumulative private stressors. To
test the irreversibility of the effects the current conditions at work were additionally adjusted.
Results support the hypothesis that multiple longitudinal change patterns or trajectories of
working conditions over a 10-years could be identified. The best fitting model had 5 classes, of
which two were characterized by unfavorable, and three by favorable constellations of working
conditions and its development. We compared groups using contrasts. The unfavorable group
“Active Job & High Social Stressors” (“AJHSS”) differed from the favorable groups for all
outcome variables, the unfavorable group “High Strain Change” („HSC“) group for all except
BMI. Additionally controlling for current working conditions at t5, these differences were
maintained for rumination and job satisfaction in the HSC, and for all except for rumination for
the AJSS group. Although, unfavorable classes were small, their well-being indicators at t5
were lower than in the favorable classes. The history of exposure is important, indicating that
some symptoms have become chronic. Our results also suggest that social stressors at work
are especially important.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Igic, Ivana; Keller, Anita; Elfering, Achim; Kälin, Wolfgang and Semmer-Tschan, Norbert


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Ivana Igic

Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2018 14:02

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2018 14:02



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