Job Strain as a Risk Factor for Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity: An Individual-Participant Meta-Analysis of Up to 170,000 Men and Women

Eleonor I. Fransson, Katriina Heikkila, Solja T. Nyberg, Marie Zins, Hugo Westerlund, Peter Westerholm, Ari Vaananen, Marianna Virtanen, Jussi Vahtera, Tores Theorell, Sakari Suominen, Archana Singh-Manoux, Johannes Siegrist, Severine Sabia, Reiner Rugulies, Jaana Pentti, Tuula Oksanen, Maria Nordin, Martin L. Nielsen, Michael G. MarmotLinda L. Magnusson Hanson, Ida E. H. Madsen, Thorsten Lunau, Constanze Leineweber, Meena Kumari, Anne Kouvonen, Aki Koskinen, Markku Koskenvuo, Anders Knutsson, France Kittel, Karl-Heinz Joeckel, Matti Joensuu, Irene L. Houtman, Wendela E. Hooftman, Marcel Goldberg, Goedele A. Geuskens, Jane E. Ferrie, Raimund Erbel, Nico Dragano, Dirk De Bacquer, Els Clays, Annalisa Casini, Hermann Burr, Marianne Borritz, Sebastien Bonenfant, Jakob B. Bjorner, Lars Alfredsson, Mark Hamer, G. David Batty, Mika Kivimaeki

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

    153 Citations (Scopus)


    Unfavorable work characteristics, such as low job control and too high or too low job demands, have been suggested to increase the likelihood of physical inactivity during leisure time, but this has not been verified in large-scale studies. The authors combined individual-level data from 14 European cohort studies (baseline years from 19851988 to 20062008) to examine the association between unfavorable work characteristics and leisure-time physical inactivity in a total of 170,162 employees (50 women; mean age, 43.5 years). Of these employees, 56,735 were reexamined after 29 years. In cross-sectional analyses, the odds for physical inactivity were 26 higher (odds ratio 1.26, 95 confidence interval: 1.15, 1.38) for employees with high-strain jobs (low control/high demands) and 21 higher (odds ratio 1.21, 95 confidence interval: 1.11, 1.31) for those with passive jobs (low control/low demands) compared with employees in low-strain jobs (high control/low demands). In prospective analyses restricted to physically active participants, the odds of becoming physically inactive during follow-up were 21 and 20 higher for those with high-strain (odds ratio 1.21, 95 confidence interval: 1.11, 1.32) and passive (odds ratio 1.20, 95 confidence interval: 1.11, 1.30) jobs at baseline. These data suggest that unfavorable work characteristics may have a spillover effect on leisure-time physical activity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1078-1089
    Number of pages12
    JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Epidemiology

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