Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2004;30(5):379-389    pdf


Exposure to job stress factors in a national survey in France

by Cohidon C, Niedhammer I, Wild P, Guéguen A, Bonenfant S, Chouanière D

Objectives Job stress is a growing epidemiologic field in France. The aim of this study was to evaluate the levels of occupational psychosocial risk factors to which the French working population is exposed. It also focused on developing a job-exposure matrix.

Methods This study used existing French national data on work conditions collected by the French Ministry of Labor in 1991, in which 20 929 workers were interviewed by questionnaire. The items of the questionnaire were retained that represented potential stressors. A principal component analysis was performed to summarize the data in terms of job-stress factors. Four independent variables (gender, age, occupation, and activity) were available, as well as scores for exposure to psychosocial risk factors. The CART (classification and regression tree) segmentation method was used to construct the job-exposure matrix.

Results Fourteen psychosocial factors were identified and interpreted on the basis of the results of the principal component analysis and deepened by experts’ judgment. To take into account the well-known difference of distribution in occupations between men and women, a gender-specific matrix was developed.

Conclusions This study is the first attempt to develop a job-exposure matrix in the area of job-stress factors in France. Thus the results have allowed the assessment of exposure to 14 psychosocial factors for all of the 455 categories of the French occupational classification for men and women separately.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2001;27(5):354-357  1998;24(3):197-205