This past week, an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology of the American Psychological Association found that job demands affect employee health outcomes. In This job is (literally) killing me: A moderated-mediated model linking work characteristics to mortality, the authors used theories from the work stress and medical literatures to argue that job control and cognitive ability moderate the positive relationship between job demands and the probability of mortality. They do so via the mediating effects of poor physical (i.e., allostatic load) and mental health (i.e., depression) indicators.

They found that job control and cognitive ability buffered the positive relationship between job demands and poor mental health. Unexpectedly, they also found that job control, but not cognitive ability, moderates the relationship between job demands and physical health, such that job demands are related to better physical health under conditions of high control, and unrelated to physical health under conditions of low control. In turn, physical and mental health mediated the moderated (by job control and cognitive ability) job demands-mortality relationship.

These interesting findings raise once again the importance of the impact of varying conditions of work on health.

Authors: Gonzalez-Mulé, E., & Cockburn, B. S. (2020). This job is (literally) killing me: A moderated-mediated model linking work characteristics to mortality. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000501

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