International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 125-142

First online:

Association between job characteristics and health behaviors in Japanese rural workers

  • Akizumi TsutsumiAffiliated withOkayama University School of Medicine and Dentistry, Social and Environmental Life Sciences, Social Medicine and Longevity Sciences, Hygiene and Preventive Medicine Email author 
  • , Kazunori KayabaAffiliated withDepartment of Community and Family Medicine, Jichi Medical School
  • , Manabu YoshimuraAffiliated withKuze National Health Insurance Clinic
  • , Machi SawadaAffiliated withOsaki National Health Insurance Clinic
  • , Shizukiyo IshikawaAffiliated withDepartment of Community and Family Medicine, Jichi Medical School
  • , Kenichiro SakaiAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Akaike Town Hospital
  • , Tadao GotohAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Wara National Health Insurance Hospital
  • , Naoki NagoAffiliated withTsukude National Health Insurance Clinic
  • , The Jichi Medical School Cohort Study Group

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Associations between job characteristics defined by the Karasek’s job demand-control model and health behaviors were investigated in a cross-sectional analysis of 6,759 Japanese rural workers. High psychological demands were associated with heavy smoking, exaggerated prevalence of alcohol drinking, and high work-related physical activity. Low job control was associated with lower consumption of vegetables, a smaller quantity number of cigarettes smoked, and a low level of work-related physical activity. Job strain, a combined measure obtained from the ratio of demands to control, was associated with lower vegetable consumption, low prevalence of smoking, and high prevalence of current alcohol drinking. Stratified analyses by occupations and gender provided some but not allof the explanations for the unexpected findings. The results indicate a possible association between psychosocial job characteristics and health behaviors. A few unexpected findings prevent complete support to one of the hypothetical pathways that the job characteristics lead to cardiovascular disease through behaviors.

Key words

health behaviors stress psychosocial work