Date: 14 Feb 2014

Psychosocial working conditions and psychological well-being among employees in 34 European countries

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The aim of this study was to explore the associations between psychosocial working conditions and psychological well-being among employees in 34 European countries. Another objective was to examine whether these associations varied according to occupation and country.


The study was based on data from the European Working Conditions Survey 2010 including 33,443 employees, 16,512 men and 16,931 women, from 34 European countries. Well-being was measured by the WHO-5 well-being index. Twenty-five psychosocial work factors were constructed including job demands, role stressors, work hours, job influence and freedom, job promotion, job insecurity, social support, quality of leadership, discrimination and violence at work, and work-life imbalance. The associations between these factors and well-being were examined using multilevel logistic regression analyses. Different models were performed including interaction tests.


When all 25 psychosocial work factors were studied simultaneously in the same model with adjustment variables, 13 showed a significant association with poor well-being among both genders: quantitative demands, demands for hiding emotions, low possibilities for development, low meaning of work, low role conflict, low quality of leadership, low social support, low sense of community, job insecurity, low job promotion, work-life imbalance, discrimination, and bullying. The association with low sense of community on poor well-being was particularly strong.


A large number of psychosocial work factors were associated with poor well-being. Almost no country and occupational differences were found in these associations. This study gave a first European overview and could be useful to inform cross-national policy debate.