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Psychosocial risk factors at the workplace: is there enough evidence to establish reference values?
  1. F G Benavides1,
  2. J Benach1,
  3. C Muntaner2
  1. 1Occupational Health Research Unit, Department of Health and Experimental Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Department of Psychiatric and Community Health, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor F G Benavides, Occupational Health Research Unit, Department of Health and Experimental Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, C/Dr Aiguader 80, 08003 Barcelona, Spain;

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Job control and its effect on public health

In the past two decades, research on workplace psychosocial risk factors has produced a large body of theoretical and empirical research.1 An extensive range of health end points, especially cardiovascular diseases,2 have been associated with the psychosocial work environment. Two main job stress models: the demand-control-social support 3, 4 and the effort-reward imbalance 5 are being widely used in occupational health research, although a significant and valuable theoretical and methodological amount of criticism has also been raised.6, 7 Both models try to explain the effects of workplace psychosocial risk factors on health in terms of the interaction among their different dimensions, as well as independently from each other: mainly job control and job demands in the first, and intrinsic and extrinsic efforts and reward in the last. Conceptual and empirical overlap between both models has been remarkable and a call for a unified model has been suggested.8 One important distinction is that the demand-control model attempts to capture features of work organisation while the effort-reward imbalance model attempts to capture work …

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