Fractions of cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders attributable to psychosocial work factors in 31 countries in Europe

  • Isabelle Niedhammer
  • Hélène Sultan-Taïeb
  • Jean-François Chastang
  • Greet Vermeylen
  • Agnès Parent-Thirion
Original Article



The aim of this study was to evaluate the fractions of cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders attributable to three psychosocial work factors, job strain, effort-reward imbalance (ERI) and job insecurity, in 31 countries in Europe.


The prevalence of exposure (Pe) to job strain, ERI and job insecurity was calculated using the sample of 29,680 workers from 31 countries of the 2005 European Working Conditions Survey. Relative risks (RR) were obtained from three published meta-analyses. Pe and RR estimates were used to calculate attributable fractions (AF).


Pe estimates were 26.90, 20.44 and 14.11 % for job strain, ERI and job insecurity in Europe, and significant differences were observed between countries. The job strain and ERI AFs for cardiovascular diseases were, respectively, 4.46 % (significantly different from zero for Europe and all countries, but without any differences between countries) and 18.21 % (not significantly different from zero for Europe and without differences between countries). The significant job strain and job insecurity AFs for mental disorders were 18.16 and 4.53 % in Europe, without any significant difference between countries. The significant ERI AF for mental disorders was 14.81 %, and significant differences were found between countries; the 3 highest AFs were observed in Greece, Slovenia and Turkey, and the 3 lowest in Bulgaria, Ireland and Latvia.


This study is the first one to provide fractions of cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders attributable to three psychosocial work factors for the whole Europe and to explore the differences between 31 countries. These results may be useful to guide European and national prevention policies as well as to evaluate the economic costs of diseases attributable to these exposures.


Attributable fraction Job stress Psychosocial work factors Mental disorders Cardiovascular diseases Europe 



French Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire, de l’Alimentation, de l’Environnement et du Travail (ANSES, previously called AFSSET, Grant No 2009-1-43).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Niedhammer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Hélène Sultan-Taïeb
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jean-François Chastang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Greet Vermeylen
    • 4
  • Agnès Parent-Thirion
    • 4
  1. 1.INSERM, U1018CESP Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Epidemiology of Occupational and Social Determinants of Health TeamVillejuif CedexFrance
  2. 2.Univ Paris-Sud, UMRS 1018VillejuifFrance
  3. 3.Université de Versailles St-Quentin, UMRS 1018VillejuifFrance
  4. 4.European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working ConditionsDublinIreland
  5. 5.Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la biologie, la santé, la société et l’environnement (CINBIOSE)Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)MontréalCanada
  6. 6.Laboratoire d’Economie et GestionUniversité de BourgogneDijonFrance

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