Exposure to psychosocial work factors in 31 European countries.Occup Med (Lond) 2012; 62(3):196-202OM
Although psychosocial work factors are recognized as major occupational risk factors, little information is available regarding the prevalence of exposure to these factors and the differences in exposure between countries.
To explore the differences in various psychosocial work exposures between 31 European countries.
The study was based on a sample of 14,881 male and 14,799 female workers from the 2005 European Working Conditions Survey. Eighteen psychosocial work factors were studied: low decision latitude (skill discretion and decision authority), high psychological demands, job strain, low social support, iso-strain, physical violence, sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination, work-family imbalance, long working hours, high effort, job insecurity, low job promotion, low reward and effort-reward imbalance. Covariates were age, number of workers in household, occupation, economic activity, self-employed/employee, public/private sector and part/full time work. Statistical analysis was performed using multilevel logistic regression analysis.
Significant differences in all psychosocial work factors were observed between countries. The rank of the countries varied according to the exposure considered. However, some countries, especially Denmark, Netherlands and Norway, displayed a significantly lower prevalence of exposure to four factors or more, while some Southern and Eastern countries, especially Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania and Turkey, had a higher prevalence.
Differences in psychosocial work exposures were found between countries. This study is the first to compare a large set of psychosocial work exposures between 31 European countries. These findings may be useful to guide prevention policies at European level.