Healthy work revisited: do changes in time strain predict well-being?


Moen P, Kelly EL, Lam J. Healthy work revisited: do changes in time strain predict well-being?. J Occup Health Psychol. 2013;18 (2) :157-72.

Date Published:

2013 Apr


Building on Karasek and Theorell (R. Karasek & T. Theorell, 1990, Healthy work: Stress, productivity, and the reconstruction of working life, New York, NY: Basic Books), we theorized and tested the relationship between time strain (work-time demands and control) and seven self-reported health outcomes. We drew on survey data from 550 employees fielded before and 6 months after the implementation of an organizational intervention, the results only work environment (ROWE) in a white-collar organization. Cross-sectional (wave 1) models showed psychological time demands and time control measures were related to health outcomes in expected directions. The ROWE intervention did not predict changes in psychological time demands by wave 2, but did predict increased time control (a sense of time adequacy and schedule control). Statistical models revealed increases in psychological time demands and time adequacy predicted changes in positive (energy, mastery, psychological well-being, self-assessed health) and negative (emotional exhaustion, somatic symptoms, psychological distress) outcomes in expected directions, net of job and home demands and covariates. This study demonstrates the value of including time strain in investigations of the health effects of job conditions. Results encourage longitudinal models of change in psychological time demands as well as time control, along with the development and testing of interventions aimed at reducing time strain in different populations of workers.