2004 Volume 14 Issue 6 Pages 204-211
BACKGROUND: The relationship between occupational class and exposure to job stressors among employed men and women in Japan remains unclear.
METHODS: Data of 16,444 men and 3,078 women were analyzed. The information was obtained from answers to a questionnaire distributed among employees of nine companies in Japan between 1996 and 1998 (average response rate, 85%). The International Standardized Classification of Occupations was used to classify respondents into eight occupational categories. The Job Content Questionnaire was used to measure job demands, job control, worksite support, and job insecurity. The associations between occupational class and job stressors, as well as job strain, were examined controlling for age, education, marital status, chronic medical condition, and personality traits, such as neuroticism and extraversion.
RESULTS: Men and women in high-class occupations (e.g., managers and professionals) had significantly greater job control, while job demands and worksite social support were not greatly different among occupations. A clear occupational class gradient in job insecurity was observed in women. A greater prevalence of high job strain was observed in low-class occupations compared to high-class occupations in both men and women. The occupational class gradient in job strain was greater for women. These patterns did not change after controlling for other covariates.
CONCLUSION: The present study suggests an occupational class gradient in job strain for employed men and women in Japan. Japanese women workers may have a greater occupational class gradient in job strain and job insecurity than men.