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J Occup Environ Med. 2015 May;57(5):479-84. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000430.

Is there a two-way relationship between cynicism and job strain? Evidence from a prospective population-based study.

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From IBS (Ms Törnroos, Dr Elovainio, Dr Keltikangas-Järvinen, Dr Hintsa, Dr Pulkki-Råback, Dr Hakulinen, Dr Merjonen, Dr Kivimäki, and Dr Hintsanen), Unit of Personality, Work and Health Psychology, University of Helsinki; National Institute for Health and Welfare (Dr Elovainio); Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (Dr Pulkki-Råback), Work and Mental Health Unit, Helsinki, Finland; Department of Biological Psychology (Dr Merjonen), VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Karolinska Institutet (Dr Theorell); Stress Research Institute (Dr Theorell), University of Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (Dr Kivimäki), University College London, United Kingdom; Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine (Dr Raitakari), University of Turku; Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine (Dr Raitakari), Turku University Hospital; and Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Dr Hintsanen), University of Helsinki, Finland.



To examine the bidirectional relationship between job strain and cynicism.


The study sample was obtained from the Young Finns study and comprised 757 participants (399 women, 53%). The bidirectional association between cynicism and job strain over a 6-year-follow-up was examined with a cross-lagged structural equation model, controlling for a number of demographic variables.


High job strain (β = 0.08; P = 0.007) was associated with higher baseline-adjusted cynicism 6 years later. Nevertheless, cynicism was not associated with baseline-adjusted job strain. The additional analysis showed that cynicism mediated 21.5% of the relationship between job strain and depression.


Perceptions of having a highly strenuous job may elicit mistrustful and cynical attitudes in employees, which in turn may lead to mental health problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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