This study addressed the prevalence of working overtime in relation to psychosocial work characteristics and need for recovery. More precisely, the aim of this study was to find out (1) whether a relationship exists between working overtime and psychosocial work characteristics (job demands and job control), (2a) whether a relationship exists between working overtime and need for recovery, and finally (2b) whether such a relationship depends on job type (a specific combination of job demands and job control). The study sample (N=1,473) consisted of a national random sample of office-based municipal administration employees who worked full-time. These employees completed a questionnaire on working conditions, overtime and need for recovery, among other things. Overtime was especially common in jobs characterised by high demands. The analyses showed that working overtime is not associated with a higher need for recovery in the total study population. However, there was a positive relationship between overtime hours and need for recovery in high strain jobs (high demands, low control). Furthermore, there was a positive relationship between structural overtime and need for recovery in active jobs (high demands, high control). The relationship between overtime and need for recovery seems to be dependent upon working conditions; indicators of overtime were associated with a higher need for recovery only for employees who experienced high job demands. Longitudinal research within a heterogeneous sample will be necessary to draw firm conclusions about causality with respect to the relationship between overtime, need for recovery and working conditions.
2006 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health