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Sleep Med. 2014 Aug;15(8):979-85. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2014.04.007. Epub 2014 Jun 13.

The influence of job stress, social support and health status on intermittent and chronic sleep disturbance: an 8-year longitudinal analysis.

Author information

  • 1National Institute for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Building 63, Acton, ACT 0200, Australia. Electronic address:
  • 2National Institute for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Building 63, Acton, ACT 0200, Australia.
  • 3Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, 100 Mallett Street, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.
  • 4Black Dog Institute and University of New South Wales, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hospital Road, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.



To determine the role of health status and social support in the relationship between job stress and sleep disturbance, for both intermittent and chronic sleep disturbance.


A total of 1946 mid-life adults completed three questionnaires spanning an 8-year time frame. Sleep disturbance was assessed at each time point, and participants were classified as experiencing intermittent, chronic or no sleep disturbance across this 8-year period. Independent variables included a range of job stress measures, social support, physical and mental health, and demographic characteristics.


After controlling for physical and mental health, perceived lack of job marketability increased risk of intermittent sleep disturbance (odds ratio (OR)=1.33, p=0.012). No other job stress measures were associated with either intermittent or chronic sleep disturbance after adjusting for years of education, social support, and employment status. Poorer mental and physical health status, although significantly increasing odds for intermittent sleep disturbance, represented a significantly greater increase in the odds for chronic sleep disturbance over and above intermittent disturbance (OR=0.96, p<0.001 for both SF-12 mental and physical health).


This population-based cohort study found little evidence that job stress had an independent effect on chronic or intermittent sleep disturbance independent of health, social support, and education. Risk profiles for intermittent and chronic sleep disturbance did not differ with regard to job stress; however, various demographic and social support factors were distinguishing factors. Health status, both physical and mental, also showed a significantly greater impact on chronic sleep disturbance than intermittent sleep disturbance. Karasek's model of job strain had little value in predicting sleep disturbance outcomes.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Job strain; Job stress; Mental health; Physical health; Sleep disturbance; Social support

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