Developing a gender/sex-sensitive evidence base on relationship between psychosocial work environment and chronic disease

Reasons for the study

Male and female labour force participation rates in Canada have changed dramatically over the last three decades. The percentage of labour force participants who are female increased from 39 per cent to 48 per cent between 1980 and 2011. Despite this increase in female labour market participation, our understanding of how work, including work stress, affects health status is still male-centric. However, there might be important male and female differences in the assessment of work stress, the biological and behavioural reactions to work stress, and the relationship between work stress and risk of subsequent disease. The purpose of this project is to build an evidence base concerning male and female differences in the relationship between the psychosocial work environment and future risk of metabolic diseases.

Objectives of the study

  • Examine gender/sex differences in the association between dimensions of the psychosocial work environment and general work stress and general life stress
  • Examine gender/sex differences in the relationship between the psychosocial work environment and subsequent health behaviour and body mass index (BMI) trajectories over a 16-year period
  • Examine the relationship between the psychosocial work environment and cardiovascular disease in Ontario over a 12-year period (see separate project page under this umbrella on the relationship between prolonged standing and heart disease)

Anticipated results/impact

This project develops a cross-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional team of researchers for further work in exploring gender and the relationships between work environment and risk of disease.

Related scientific publications

Gilbert-Ouimet M, Ma H, Glazier R, Brisson C, Mustard C, Smith PM. Adverse effect of long work hours on incident diabetes in 7065 Ontario workers followed for 12 years. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. 2018;6(1):e000496. doi:10.1136/bmjdrc-2017-000496.
Fan J, Smith PM. Self-reported work conditions in Canada: examining changes between 2002 and 2012. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2018 [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.17269/s41997-018-0096-8.
Padkapayeva K, Gilbert-Ouimet M, Bielecky A, Ibrahim S, Mustard C. Gender/sex differences in the relationship between psychosocial work exposures and work and life stress. Annals of Work Exposures and Health. 2018;62(4):416-425. doi:10.1093/annweh/wxy014.
Bielecky A, Ibrahim S, Mustard C, Brisson C, Smith PM. An analysis of measurement invariance in work stress by sex: Are we comparing apples to apples?. JASNH. 2017;13(2):38-48.

Related research summaries

Gender differences in the link between psychosocial work exposures and stress. Research Highlights: Institute for Work & Health, August 2018.

Project status

Ongoing

Research team

Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Cameron Mustard, Institute for Work & Health
Chantal Brisson, Université Laval
Rick Glazier, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences

Participating organizations

Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research