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Scand J Public Health. 2008 May;36(3):242-9. doi: 10.1177/1403494807085079.

Does the job demand-control model correspond to externally assessed demands and control for both women and men?

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  • 1Department of Public Health Science, Division of Occupational Medicine at Karolinska Institutet.



To explore externally assessed demands and control for both women and men in each of the groups of the job demand-control (JDC) model, which itself was based on self-reported data. A specific aim was to better understand why health conditions among women with active jobs were as bad as those among women with high-strain jobs in some earlier studies.


Expert assessments were made through direct observation and interviews concerning time pressure, hindrances, influence, and creative work tasks. The sample consisted of 203 men and women in 85 occupations. The four groups of the JDC model (high strain, low strain, active, and passive) were constructed from self-reported data.


Most comparative analyses of the JDC groups showed that external assessments corresponded to self-reports in the expected direction for both women and men, although not always statistically significant. However, in the active job situation, external assessments deviated from self-reports in different directions for women and men. Women had more hindrances and less influence over their work, while the situation was reversed for men. Women in active jobs worked more often than men in an organization with mostly female staff and in a predominantly female occupation.


Associations between self-reported working conditions and health might be underestimated among women reporting an active job situation. Our findings contribute to the discussion on why the results in some studies show that active jobs among women are as hazardous for health as high-strain jobs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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