Job Strain and Mortality among Men and Women in the United States
Benjamin Amick, University of Texas at Houston
The health impact of stressful working conditions is a topic of great research interest, but existing studies have paid relatively little attention to women and even less to people who work outside the formal, paid labor force. We examine the influence of job strain on mortality over fifteen years among paid and unpaid men and women in the American’s Changing Lives Study, a nationally-representative cohort of U.S. adults that started in 1986. We find that contrary to the strain hypothesis of the Karasek demand-control model, high strain work does not increase the risk of mortality; in fact, people who report high strain work have improved survival relative to those in low strain work. Among unpaid women, active work is protective while passive work increases the risk of mortality, while among paid women workers, only active work exerts an effect. These results are discussed with regard to the changing American workforce.