Do Sex Differences in the Association between Work Exposure and Health in the Manufacturing Industry Depend on Work Context? Results from the WOLF-Study


The aim of this study is to investigate the associations between work exposure such as psychosocial work factors and work posture, and health in men and women with the same type of occupation in the manufacturing industry. Two follow-ups with a follow-up rate of 67% from the WOrk, Lipids and Fibrinogen (WOLF) cohort from the Northern Sweden were used. The database included 1589 men and 286 women, which is representative of the proportions between men and women in the Swedish manufacturing industry. To be able to understand the importance of work context, the participants were categorized according to work tasks (working with things or symbols). Logistic regression was used for interaction analyses between sex and psychosocial work factors (such as demand, control, social support, role conflict, and work-family conflict) as well as physical work factors (such as work posture), and health outcomes (work overcommitment, fatigue, and neck and back pain). The results showed contextually different patterns of sex different associations between psychosocial work factors and health outcomes. For instance, women were at larger risk of ill-health (in the form of work overcommitment) when working with things, whereas men were at larger risk of both work overcommitment and fatigue when working with symbols. Women working with symbols had a larger risk of neck and back pain due to work-family conflict. The health outcome that was most sensitive to the sex different associations was work overcommitment. In conclusion, the work context matters for sex differences in the association between psychosocial work factors and health and since work overcommitment is a predictor of disease, it should be of interest for the Occupational Health Services and personnel departments to survey.

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Nordin, M. & Bolin, M. (2014). Do Sex Differences in the Association between Work Exposure and Health in the Manufacturing Industry Depend on Work Context? Results from the WOLF-Study. Psychology, 5, 896-907. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.58101.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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