Scand J Work Environ Health 2014;40(5):441-456    pdf full text | Published online: 22 Apr 2014, Issue date: 01 Sep 2014

A reciprocal interplay between psychosocial job stressors and worker well-being? A systematic review of the “reversed” effect

by Tang K

Objectives Work represents an important role in society, and the nature and consequences of job stress have garnered significant research interest. In recent years, considerable effort has been made to elucidate the occupational stressor–strain relationship, or the interplay between unfavorable working conditions (stressor) and worker well-being (strain). In line with Bandura’s notion of “reciprocal determinism”, a reciprocal occupational stressor–strain relationship is now increasingly postulated, where variables exert mutual influences on each other over time. The objective of this study was to determine the extent of empirical support for three specific “reversed” (strain-to-stressor) effects, guided by the Demand–Control–Support model.

Methods A systematic literature review was conducted (1996–2012 inclusive) through a search of databases. After relevant studies were identified, a methodological quality appraisal was performed based on four key criteria: sample size, measurement, non-spuriousness, and non-response bias. Subsequently, a quantitative synthesis of evidence from high-quality studies was performed by calculating a standardized index of convergence for each reversed effect.

Results Twenty-three qualifying studies were found and evidence from ten high-quality studies ultimately contributed to the synthesis. Moderately strong evidence in support of a positive strain-to-job demands effect was found, but there was no evidence in support of either a strain-to-job control or a strain-to-workplace social support effect

Conclusions In conjunction with available evidence on the corresponding “normal” (stressor-to-strain) effect, this review gives credence to the possibility of a reciprocal stressor–strain relationship involving job demands and worker well-being.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2003;29(1):1-4  2004;30(2):85-128  2005;31(1):3-14  2012;38(4):299-313  2013;39(6):535-549
The following articles refer to this text: 2014;40(5):437-440; 2017;43(4):316-325