Chronic workplace stress and insufficient physical activity: a cohort study
Objectives: To examine whether exposure to workplace stressors predicts changes in physical activity and the risk ofinsufficient physical activity.
Methods: Prospective data from the Finnish Public Sector Study. Repeated exposure to low job control, high job demands, low effort, low rewards and compositions of these (job strain and effort-reward imbalance) were assessed at Time 1 (2000-2002) and Time 2 (2004). Insufficient physical activity (<14 metabolic equivalent task hours per week) was measured at Time 1 and Time 3 (2008). The effect of change in workplace stressors on change in physical activity was examined using fixed-effects (within-subject) logistic regression models (N=6665). In addition, logistic regression analysis was applied to examine the associations between repeated exposure to workplace stressors and insufficient physical activity (N=13 976). In these analyses, coworker assessed workplace stressor scores were used in addition to individual level scores.
Results: The proportion of participants with insufficient physical activity was 24% at baseline and 26% at follow-up. 19% of the participants who were sufficiently active at baseline became insufficiently active at follow-up. In the fixed-effect analysis, an increase in workplace stress was weakly related to an increase in physical inactivity within an individual.In between-subjects analysis, employees with repeated exposure to low job control and low rewards were more likely to be insufficiently active at follow-up than those with no reports of these stressors; fully adjusted ORs ranged from 1.11 (95% CI 1.00 to 1.24) to 1.21 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.39).
Conclusions: Workplace stress is associated with a slightly increased risk of physical inactivity.