Organizational Justice and Psychological Distress Among Permanent and Non-permanent Employees in Japan: A Prospective Cohort Study

  • Akiomi Inoue
  • Norito Kawakami
  • Kanami Tsuno
  • Kimiko Tomioka
  • Mayuko Nakanishi



Organizational justice has recently been introduced as a new concept as psychosocial determinants of employee health, and an increase in precarious employment is a challenging issue in occupational health. However, no study investigated the association of organizational justice with mental health among employees while taking into account employment contract.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the prospective association of organizational justice (procedural justice and interactional justice) with psychological distress by employment contract among Japanese employees.


A total of 373 males and 644 females from five branches of a manufacturing company in Japan were surveyed. At baseline (August 2009), self-administered questionnaires, including the Organizational Justice Questionnaire (OJQ), the K6 scale (psychological distress scale), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised (EPQ-R), and other covariates, were used. After one-year follow-up (August 2010), the K6 scale was used again to assess psychological distress. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted by sex and employment contract.


After adjusting for demographic characteristics, psychological distress, and neuroticism at baseline, low procedural justice was significantly associated with a higher risk of psychological distress at follow-up among non-permanent female employees, while no significant association of procedural justice or interactional justice with psychological distress at follow-up was observed among permanent male or female employees. The results of non-permanent male employees could not be calculated because of small sample size.


Low procedural justice may be an important predictor of psychological distress among non-permanent female employees.


Procedural justice Interactional justice Mental health Precarious employment Longitudinal study 



The present study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) 2009 and 2010 (No. 20240062) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. The preparation of the manuscript was partially supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (Research in a Proposed Research Area) 2011 (No. 4102-21119001) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akiomi Inoue
    • 1
  • Norito Kawakami
    • 2
  • Kanami Tsuno
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kimiko Tomioka
    • 4
  • Mayuko Nakanishi
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Mental Health, Institute of Industrial Ecological SciencesUniversity of Occupational and Environmental HealthKitakyushuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Mental Health, Graduate School of MedicineThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Japan Society for the Promotion of ScienceTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Community Health and EpidemiologyNara Medical UniversityKashiharaJapan
  5. 5.Nakanishi Healthcare OfficeYokohamaJapan

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