Title: Developing a Gender/Sex-sensitive Understanding of how the Psychosocial Work Environment is related to Chronic Disease (IWH Project 1315)
Category: Changing Nature of Work and Work Environment
Subcategory: Changing Nature of Work and Work Environment
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% to 48% between 1980 and 2011. Despite this increase in female labour market participation, much of our understanding of how aspects of work impact on health status is still male-centric. Much of what we understand about how and what to measure as part of the psychosocial work environment, and the relationship between these dimensions and disease has been generated in male-dominated samples. 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. In turn, there is a need to better understand the role of sex (biological) and gender (societal and work-role) differences in generating these findings. 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.
•To examine gender/sex differences in factor structure of dimensions of psychosocial work environment.
•To examine gender/sex differences in the association between dimensions of the psychosocial work environment and general work stress and general life stress.
•To 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.
•To examine the relationship between the psychosocial work environment and cardiovascular disease in Ontario over a 12-year period.
Findings from this research will determine if more gender-sensitive measures of the psychosocial work environment are needed; if models linking the work environment to health status should further consider gender/sex, and if gender/sex-sensitive primary prevention activities for health behaviours and BMI that integrate aspects of the work environment should be further developed. This project will also help develop a cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional, team of researchers to undertake future work exploring the relationships between the work environment and risk of disease that takes into account gender and sex.