Inconsistent evidence of the hypothesized favorable effects of high job control on health may have resulted from a failure to treat job control as a multifactor concept. The authors studied whether the 2 components of job control, decision authority and skill discretion, were differentially associated with cause-specific mortality in 13,510 Finnish forest company employees with no history of severe illness. Surveys on work characteristics were carried out in 1986 and 1996, and the respondents were followed up until the end of 2005 by use of the Statistics Finland National Death Registry. During a mean follow-up of 15.5 years, 981 participants died. In the analyses adjusted for confounders, employees with high and intermediate levels of skill discretion had a lower all-cause mortality risk than those with low skill discretion, with hazard ratios of 0.84 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.69, 1.02) and 0.81 (95% CI: 0.69, 0.96), respectively. In contrast, high decision authority was associated with elevated risks of all-cause, cardiovascular, and alcohol-related mortality, with hazard ratios of 1.28 (95% CI: 1.06, 1.54), 1.49 (95% CI: 1.11, 2.02), and 2.03 (95% CI: 1.03, 4.00), respectively. The results suggest that job control is not an unequivocal concept in relation to mortality; decision authority and skill discretion show different and to some extent opposite associations.
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