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Are You Experiencing Job Strain? Complete the Job Content Questionnaire

It is a well-known fact that job strain places people at increased risk of burnout, depression, and cardiovascular diseases. According to a psychological model of job strain that was developed by Robert Karasek, the greatest risk to physical and mental health from stress happens when workers face high job demands combined with the perception of little control of one’s work (also called “job decision latitude”). Job demands are defined by questions such as "working very fast," "working very hard," and not "enough time to get the job done." Job decision latitude is defined as both the ability to use skills on the job and the decision-making authority available to the worker. The combination of high job demands and low job decision attitude leads to negative health consequences.  

If you would like to find out whether you are experiencing job strain, you could complete the Job Content Questionnaire that was developed by Karasek. The explanation of how the questionnaire is scored can be found at the bottom of the article.

QUESTIONNAIRE


 

 

strongly

disagree

 

disagree

 

agree

strongly

agree

1. My job requires that I learn new things

1

2

3

4

2. My job involves a lot of repetitive work

1

2

3

4

3. My job requires me to be creative

1

2

3

4

4. My job allows me to make a lot of decisions on my own

1

2

3

4

5. My job requires a high level of skill

1

2

3

4

6. On my job, I am given a lot of freedom to decide how I do my work

1

2

3

4

7. I get to do a variety of things on my job

1

2

3

4

8. I have a lot to say about what happens on my job

1

2

3

4

9. I have an opportunity to develop my own special abilities

1

2

3

4

10. My job requires working very fast

1

2

3

4

11. My job requires working very hard

1

2

3

4

12. My job requires lots of physical effort

1

2

3

4

13. I am not asked to do an excessive amount of work

1

2

3

4

14. I have enough time to get the job done

1

2

3

4

15. I am free from conflicting demands others make

1

2

3

4

16. My job security is good

1

2

3

4

17. People I work with are competent in doing their jobs

1

2

3

4

18. People I work with take a personal interest in me

1

2

3

4

19. People I work with are friendly

1

2

3

4

20. People I work with are helpful in getting the job done

1

2

3

4

21. My supervisor is concerned about the welfare of those under him

1

2

3

4

22. My supervisor pays attention to what I am saying

1

2

3

4

23. My supervisor is helpful in getting the job done

1

2

3

4

24. My supervisor is successful in getting people to work together

1

2

3

4

 

 

regular and steady

 

seasonal

 

frequent layoffs

both seasonal and frequent layoffs

25. How steady is your work?

1

2

3

4

 

 

never

faced possibility once

faced possibility more than once

constantly

actually laid off

26. During the past year, how often were you in a situation where you faced job loss or layoff?

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

 

not at all likely

not too likely

somewhat likely

very likely

27. Sometimes people permanently lose jobs they want to keep. How likely is it that during the next couple of years you will lose your present job with your employer?

 

 

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

 

 

4

 

SCORING

 

Possible range

Job skill discretion = [q1 + q3 + q5 + q7 + q9 + 5 - q2] * 2

12-48

Job decision-making authority = [2*(q4 + q6 + q8)]*2

12-48

Job demands = 3*(q10 + q11) + 2*(15 - q13 - q14 - q15)

12-48

Job decision latitude = skill discretion + decision-making authority

24-96

Co-worker support = q17 + q18 + q19 + q20

4-16

Supervisor support = q21 + q22 + q23 + q24

4-16

Job insecurity = q25 + q27 + 5 - q16

3-12

 

JOB STRAIN can be then be defined in one of two ways:

1)      A score above the population average on job demands as well as below the national average on job decision latitude. To determine ‘job strain’ it will be necessary to use population averages (see down). Job strain is defined as above the average on demands, below average on decision latitude.

2)      A job strain ratio term: (Job demands*2)/Job decision latitude.  A score > 1 would indicate job strain.

POPULATION AVERAGES

 

Average

Job skill discretion

33.5

Job decision-making authority

36.8

Job decision latitude

70.3

Job demands

30.9

Co-worker support

12.73

Supervisor support

11.94

Total social support

24.6

Job insecurity

4.91

Decision latitude

70.20

Psychological job demands

30.26