Psychosocial work environment and healthy ageing

This project focuses on a question that has high societal relevance and is timely because the proportion of employees under adverse psychosocial work environments is likely to increase as organisations and businesses have to weather the ongoing economic recession.

The workplace, along with the school, primary care and hospital, has been established as one of the priority settings for health promotion. Work-related factors may influence the health of employees in various ways and, in the long run, contribute to healthy ageing. This project generates new evidence to reliably evaluate the importance of these factors at a population level:

First, we determine the strength of the association between work-related psychosocial factors and health using individual-participant data from 26 high-quality cohort studies (N = 268 286). In meta-analysis, we complement these data with results from published studies identified by systematic literature searches.

Second, we test the hypothesised psychological, behavioural and biological pathways linking work-related psychosocial factors to health and disability using longitudinal modelling of repeat data from 4 to 28 follow-ups in four long-term cohort studies.

Third, we analyse temporal aspects, based on linkage of records from national health and employment registers for Danish workforce (N = 1.7 million) to determine dose-response associations and whether reductions in exposure to work-related psychosocial risk factors are followed by reductions in the disease incidence (reversibility). We repeat these analyses using data from Swedish workforce (N = 4.9 million).

Fourth, we examine whether gender, age or socioeconomic circumstances modify the associations and whether the results vary between Nordic and other European countries and the United States.

The results of this project will characterise more precisely than has previously been possible the role of work-related psychosocial factors as determinants of healthy ageing. The proposed work will contribute to evidence-based policies aimed at improving public health, reducing health inequalities and extending work careers. 

Scientific Publications

Shift work with and without night work as a risk factor for fatigue and changes in sleep length: A cohort study with linkage to records on daily working hours

Published: 2018-01-31
Author: Mikko Härmä, Kati Karhula, Sampsa Puttonen, Annina Ropponen, Aki Koskinen, Anneli Ojajärvi, Mika Kivimäki.

Workplace bullying and violence as risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a multicohort study and meta-analysis

Published: 2017-11-13
Author: Tianwei Xu, Linda L. Magnusson Hanson, Theis Lange, Liis Starkopf, Hugo Westerlund, Ida E. H. Madsen, Reiner Rugulies, Jaana Pentti, Sari Stenholm, Jussi Vahtera, Åse M. Hansen, Mika Kivimäki, Naja H. Rod.

Change in β 2 -agonist use after severe life events in adults with asthma: A population-based cohort study

Published: 2017-09-01
Author: Raija Lietzén, Pekka Virtanen, Mika Kivimäki, Jyrki Korkeila, Sakari Suominen, Lauri Sillanmäki, Markku Koskenvuo, Jussi Vahtera.

Social networks and patterns of health risk behaviours over two decades: A multi-cohort study

Published: 2017-08-01
Author: Maarit Kauppi, Marko Elovainio, Sari Stenholm, Marianna Virtanen, Ville Aalto, Markku Koskenvuo, Mika Kivimäki, Jussi Vahtera.

Contribution of cognitive performance and cognitive decline to associations between socioeconomic factors and dementia: A cohort study

Published: 2017-06-26
Author: Jennifer Rusmaully, Aline Dugravot, Jean-Paul Moatti, Michael G. Marmot, Alexis Elbaz, Mika Kivimaki, Séverine Sabia, Archana Singh-Manoux.

Change in body mass index during transition to statutory retirement: an occupational cohort study

Published: 2017-06-26
Author: Sari Stenholm, Svetlana Solovieva, Eira Viikari-Juntura, Ville Aalto, Mika Kivimäki, Jussi Vahtera.

Objective working hour characteristics and work–life conflict among hospital employees in the Finnish public sector study

Published: 2017-06-07
Author: Kati Karhula, Sampsa Puttonen, Annina Ropponen, Aki Koskinen, Anneli Ojajärvi, Mika Kivimäki, Mikko Härmä.

Coronary heart disease and risk factors as predictors of trajectories of psychological distress from midlife to old age

Published: 2016-11-18
Author: Marianna Virtanen, Marko Elovainio, Kim Josefsson, G David Batty, Archana Singh-Manoux, Mika Kivimäki.

Changes in physical activity during transition to retirement: a cohort study

Published: 2016-04-16
Author: Sari Stenholm, Anna Pulakka, Ichiro Kawachi, Tuula Oksanen, Jaana I. Halonen, Ville Aalto, Mika Kivimäki, Jussi Vahtera.

Facts about the project

Project number: 75021

Project leader

Mika Kivimäki