Are there bidirectional relationships between psychosocial work characteristics and depressive symptoms? A fixed effects analysis of Swedish national panel survey data

Åhlin, Julia K., LaMontagne, Anthony and Magnusson Hanson, Linda L. 2019, Are there bidirectional relationships between psychosocial work characteristics and depressive symptoms? A fixed effects analysis of Swedish national panel survey data, Occupational and environmental medicine, vol. 76, no. 7, pp. 455-461, doi: 10.1136/oemed-2018-105450.

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Title Are there bidirectional relationships between psychosocial work characteristics and depressive symptoms? A fixed effects analysis of Swedish national panel survey data
Author(s) Åhlin, Julia K.
LaMontagne, AnthonyORCID iD for LaMontagne, Anthony orcid.org/0000-0002-5811-5906
Magnusson Hanson, Linda L.
Journal name Occupational and environmental medicine
Volume number 76
Issue number 7
Start page 455
End page 461
Total pages 7
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2019
ISSN 1351-0711
1470-7926
Keyword(s) depression
effort-reward imbalance model
job-demand-control-support model
longitudinal studies
organizational justice
Summary OBJECTIVES: Psychosocial work characteristics have been prospectively associated with depressive symptoms. However, methodological limitations have raised questions regarding causality. It is also unclear to what extent depressive symptoms affect the experience of the psychosocial work environment. We examined contemporaneous (measured simultaneously) and lagged bidirectional relationships between psychosocial work characteristics and depressive symptoms, simultaneously controlling for time-stable individual characteristics. METHODS: We included 3947 subjects in the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH), with self-reported job demands, control, social support, work efforts, rewards, procedural justice and depressive symptoms in four waves 2010-2016. We applied dynamic panel models with fixed effects, using structural equation modelling, adjusting for all time-stable individual characteristics such as personality and pre-employment factors. RESULTS: Higher levels of job demands, job demands in relation to control, work efforts and efforts in relation to rewards were contemporaneously associated with more depressive symptoms (standardised β: 0.18-0.25, p<0.001), while higher levels of workplace social support, rewards at work and procedural justice were associated with less depressive symptoms (β: -0.18, p<0.001,β: -0.16, p<0.001 and β: -0.09, p<0.01, respectively). In contrast, only work efforts predicted higher levels of depressive symptoms 2 years later (β: 0.05, p<0.05). No other lagged associations were found in any direction. CONCLUSIONS: After controlling for all time-invariant confounding, our results suggest that psychosocial work characteristics predominantly affect depressive symptoms immediately or with only a short time lag. Furthermore, we found no evidence of reverse causation. This indicates short-term causal associations, although the temporal precedence of psychosocial work characteristics remains uncertain.
Language eng
DOI 10.1136/oemed-2018-105450
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1103 Clinical Sciences
1117 Public Health and Health Services
1599 Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2019, The Authors
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30121675

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