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Ergonomics. 2012;55(4):425-39. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2011.645887.

Occupation-differential construct validity of the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) psychological job demands scale with physical job demands items: a mixed methods research.

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Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1 University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854, USA.


The construct validity of the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) psychological demands scale in relationship to physical demands has been inconsistent. This study aims to test quantitatively and qualitatively whether the scale validity differs by occupation. Hierarchical clustering analyses of 10 JCQ psychological and physical demands items were conducted in 61 occupations from two datasets: one of non-faculty workers at a university in the United States (6 occupations with 208 total workers) and the other of a Belgian working population (55 occupations with 13,039 total workers). The psychological and physical demands items overlapped in 13 of 61 occupation-stratified clustering analyses. Most of the overlaps occurred in physically-demanding occupations and involved the two psychological demands items, 'work fast' and 'work hard'. Generally, the scale reliability was low in such occupations. Additionally, interviews with eight university workers revealed that workers interpreted the two psychological demands items differently by the nature of their tasks. The scale validity was occupation-differential.


The JCQ psychological job demands scale as a job demand measure has been used worldwide in many studies. This study indicates that the wordings of the 'work fast' and 'work hard' items of the scale need to be reworded enough to differentiate mental and physical job demands as intended, 'psychological.'

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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