Journal of Epidemiology
Online ISSN : 1349-9092
Print ISSN : 0917-5040
ISSN-L : 0917-5040
Original Article
Psychosocial Work Environment Explains the Association of Job Dissatisfaction With Long-term Sickness Absence: A One-Year Prospect Study of Japanese Employees
Akiomi InoueAkizumi TsutsumiYuko KachiHisashi EguchiAkihito ShimazuNorito Kawakami
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2020 Volume 30 Issue 9 Pages 390-395


Background: Using a 1-year prospective design, we examined the association of job dissatisfaction with long-term sickness absence lasting 1 month or more, before and after adjusting for psychosocial work environment (ie, quantitative job overload, job control, and workplace social support) in Japanese employees.

Methods: We surveyed 14,687 employees (7,343 men and 7,344 women) aged 20–66 years, who had not taken long-term sickness absence in the past 3 years, from a financial service company in Japan. The Brief Job Stress Questionnaire, including scales on job satisfaction and psychosocial work environment, was administered, and information on demographic and occupational characteristics (ie, age, gender, length of service, job type, and employment position) was obtained from the personnel records of the surveyed company at baseline (July–August 2015). Subsequently, information on the start dates of long-term sickness absences was obtained during the follow-up period (until July 2016) from the personnel records. Cox’s proportional hazard regression analysis was conducted.

Results: After adjusting for demographic and occupational characteristics, those who perceived job dissatisfaction had a significantly higher hazard ratio of long-term sickness absence than those who perceived job satisfaction (hazard ratio 2.91; 95% confidence interval, 1.74–4.87). After additionally adjusting for psychosocial work environment, this association was weakened and no longer significant (hazard ratio 1.55; 95% confidence interval, 0.86–2.80).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the association of job dissatisfaction with long-term sickness absence is spurious and explained mainly via psychosocial work environment.

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© 2019 Akiomi Inoue et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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