BACKGROUND: The job characteristics scale of job strain, which combines high job demands and low decision latitude based on Karasek's model, has been applied to studies on health care and cardiovascular disease. However, little is known about the long-term stability of this scale with exposure of workers to job. We investigated the 5-year intraindividual variation in job characteristics scores among healthy community workers.
METHODS: Subjects of the study were 458 community dwelling persons forming part of the Jichi Medical School Cohort Study at Yamato (currently, Minami-Uonuma city), Niigata prefecture. The Japanese version of the World Health Organization Multinational Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease (WHO-MONICA) Psychosocial Study Questionnaire was implemented twice (from 1992 through 1995, and in 1999) to measure job demands and decision latitude levels. Intraclass correlation coefficients were computed to evaluate stability of scores of the questionnaire.
RESULTS: Intraclass correlation coefficient of the decision latitude scores was 0.629 (95% confidence interval: 0.564 - 0.686) and that of the job demands scores was 0.551 (0.476 - 0.617). Subgroup analyses by age, sex, education level, years since first employment, number of co-workers, and job category and status at baseline revealed similar results. In contrast, subjects who experienced position changes within the same enterprise or changed jobs showed lower correlation coefficients of both decision latitude and job demands scores compared to those who experienced no change in job contents.
CONCLUSION: The Japanese version of the WHO-MONICA Psychosocial Study Questionnaire showed statistically significant long-term stability and could be to some extent responsive to change in job strain levels.
J Epidemiol 2005; 15:228-234.
2005 by Japan Epidemiological Association