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Job strain and unhealthy lifestyle: results from the baseline cohort study, Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil)
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2015 (English)In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 15, 309Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking and sedentary behavior, are among the main modifiable risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases. The workplace is regarded as an important site of potential health risks where preventive strategies can be effective. We investigated independent associations among psychosocial job strain, leisure-time physical inactivity, and smoking in public servants in the largest Brazilian adult cohort. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil)-a multicenter prospective cohort study of civil servants. Our analytical samples comprised 11,779 and 11,963 current workers for, respectively, analyses of job strain and leisure-time physical activity and analyses of job strain and smoking. Job strain was assessed using the Brazilian version of the Swedish Demand-Control-Support Questionnaire; physical activity was evaluated using a short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. We also examined smoking status and number of cigarettes smoked per day. The association reported in this paper was assessed by means of multinomial and logistic regression, stratified by sex. Results: Among men, compared with low-strain activities (low demand and high control), job strain showed an association with physical inactivity (odds ratio [OR] = 1.34; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09-1.64) or with the practice of physical activities of less than recommended duration (OR = 1.44; 95% CI = 1.15-1.82). Among women, greater likelihood of physical inactivity was identified among job-strain and passive-job groups (OR = 1.47; 95% CI = 1.22-1.77 and OR = 1.42; 95% CI = 1.20-1.67, respectively). Greater control at work was a protective factor for physical inactivity among both men and women. Social support at work was a protective factor for physical inactivity among women, as was smoking for both genders. We observed no association between demand or control dimensions and smoking. Conclusions: Job strain, job control, and social support were associated with physical activity. Social support at work was protective of smoking. Our results are comparable to those found in more developed countries; they provide additional evidence of an association between an adverse psychosocial work environment and health-related behaviors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 15, 309
Keyword [en]
Brazil, Job strain, Occupational health, Physical activity, Smoking, Epidemiology, Cross-sectional analysis
National Category
Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116983DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-1626-4ISI: 000352341700001PubMedID: 25886621OAI: diva2:812096


Available from: 2015-05-15 Created: 2015-05-05 Last updated: 2015-05-15Bibliographically approved

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Toivanen, Susanna
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Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS)
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