Job Structures, Job Stress, and Mental Health

Part of the Social Disparities in Health and Health Care book series (SDHHC)


In this chapter, we discuss the substantial volume of research that connects the characteristics of jobs to stress and to stress-related health outcomes. Most of this research is conducted at the individual level and focuses on the adverse psychological consequences of the interaction of the individual worker with characteristics of her/his job. While this has been a productive line of work, we also note a number of limitations in both the theoretical and methodological nature of such work that leads us to ask questions that might best be answered by a structural/sociological perspective. Explanations for job stress that are limited to the individual level cannot explain how and why specific job conditions are created. They cannot explain how and why stressful job conditions change and they cannot account for the unequal distribution of “good” and “bad” job structures among different sorts of workers.


Decision Latitude Stress Process Model Numerical Flexibility High Decision Latitude High Performance Work Practice 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyThe University of AkronAkronUSA

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