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The effect of the work environment and performance-based self-esteem on cognitive stress symptoms among Danish knowledge workers

Tidsskriftartikel - 2010


Interpersonal relations at work as well as individualfactors seem to play prominent roles in the modern labour market,and arguably also for the change in stress symptoms. The aimwas to examine whether exposures in the psychosocial work environmentpredicted symptoms of cognitive stress in a sample of Danishknowledge workers (i.e. employees working with sign, communicationor exchange of knowledge) and whether performance-based self-esteemhad a main effect, over and above the work environmental factors.Methods: 349 knowledge workers, selected from a national, representativecohort study, were followed up with two data collections, 12months apart. We used data on psychosocial work environmentfactors and cognitive stress symptoms measured with the CopenhagenPsychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ), and a measurement of performance-basedself-esteem. Effects on cognitive stress symptoms were analyzedwith a GLM procedure with and without adjustment for baselinelevel. Results: Measures at baseline of quantitative demands,role conflicts, lack of role clarity, recognition, predictability,influence and social support from management were positivelyassociated with cognitive stress symptoms 12 months later. Afteradjustment for baseline level of cognitive stress symptoms,follow-up level was only predicted by lack of predictability.Performance-based self-esteem was prospectively associated withcognitive stress symptoms and had an independent effect abovethe psychosocial work environment factors on the level of andchanges in cognitive stress symptoms. Conclusions: The resultssuggest that both work environmental and individual characteristicsshould be taken into account in order to capture sources ofstress in modern working life.


Albertsen K, Rugulies RE, Garde AH, Burr FHM. The effect of the work environment and performance-based self-esteem on cognitive stress symptoms among Danish knowledge workers. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 2010;38(Suppl 3):81-89.
doi: 10.1177/1403494809352104

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