Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 1211–1224

The importance of both workplace and private life factors in psychological distress: a large cross-sectional survey of French railway company employees

  • David Evans
  • Luc Mallet
  • Antoine Flahault
  • Catherine Cothereau
  • Sébastien Velazquez
  • Loïc Capron
  • Michel Lejoyeux
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-012-0605-7

Cite this article as:
Evans, D., Mallet, L., Flahault, A. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2013) 48: 1211. doi:10.1007/s00127-012-0605-7

Abstract

Purpose

The psychological well-being of employees is a priority in occupational health. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of psychological distress among employees of a large French company, to calculate the associations between distress and stressors in the workplace and private life domains, and to explore confounding across stressor domains.

Methods

8,058 employees of the French national railways company completed a nation-wide survey in 2006 (94.3 % participation). Psychological distress was measured by the 12-item General Health Questionnaire and 21 potential stressors and socio-demographic factors by a self-administered questionnaire. Stressors were summarized in scores for work pressure, workplace conflict, and personal life domains. Risk ratios (RRs) between psychological distress and stressors were calculated using robust-variance Poisson regression.

Results

The prevalence of psychological distress was 32.8 % (95 % CI 31.8–33.9 %), higher among women (48.9 %, 95 % CI 46.5–51.7 %) than men (30.1 %, 95 % CI 29.0–31.2 %). Each stressor domain was associated with distress in the final model containing likely confounders and all three domains (RR highest vs. lowest level—work pressure: men 1.55, 95 % CI 1.42–1.70, women 1.42, 95 % CI 1.23–1.63; work conflict: men 2.63, 95 % CI 2.38–2.91, women 1.98, 95 % CI 1.70–2.30; life concerns: men 2.04, 95 % CI 1.86–2.23, women 1.53, 95 % CI 1.32–1.78). The mutually adjusted RRs for the stressor domains were smaller than the unadjusted RRs.

Conclusions

Almost one-third of all employees and one-half of female employees experienced psychological distress. All three stressor domains were associated with psychological distress and adjustment reduced the association size, suggesting possible over-estimation if one or more domains are omitted from the survey.

Keywords

Psychological distressMental healthWorkplace stressorsPrivate life stressors

Supplementary material

127_2012_605_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (702 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 702 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Evans
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Luc Mallet
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Antoine Flahault
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Catherine Cothereau
    • 1
  • Sébastien Velazquez
    • 1
  • Loïc Capron
    • 1
  • Michel Lejoyeux
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical DepartmentSociété Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF)ParisFrance
  2. 2.EHESP School of Public HealthRennes, ParisFrance
  3. 3.Inserm UMR-S 707ParisFrance
  4. 4.Centre de Recherche de l’Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épiniere, UMR-S975Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6ParisFrance
  5. 5.Inserm, U 975ParisFrance
  6. 6.Centre d’Investigation Clinique, CHU Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance