On the basis of the Hungarian nationwide representative epidemiological studies (Hungarostudy 1995, 2002), specially trained poll takers visited in their homes 12,370 persons in 1995 and 12,668 persons in 2002. From these two samples this paper analyzes, along the main dimensions of job stress, the active population aged 30-60. In 1995 1308 men and 1701 women, in 2002 2,355 men and 2,175 women participated to this study, the mean age being 43 and 44 years. In this paper the authors define job stress (job strain indicator) as job insecurity, job dissatisfaction, lack of co-worker support and lack of control over work. They analyze along the bio-psycho-socio-economic approach and using hierarchical binary logistic regression modeling the independent and combined effect of the job stress dimensions on depressive syndrome, on work ability decrease without having any illness, on the number of days spent on sick leave. Finally, they calculated the national expenditures that arise due to job stress' detrimental effect on the quality of life. In 1995 high job strain (cut value determined on the basis of the comparison with clinical level of depression) was characteristic of 17.05% of the Hungarian active employees. In 2002 this ratio increased up to 25.47%. among the men and women that were characterized by high job stress, the prevalence of depressive syndrome of clinical level was significantly higher both in 1995 and in 2002 compared to the non-stressed category. In 2002, in the case of men job stress increased four times the risk of depression, while in the case of women this risk increased twice. Similarly, in the case of both genders, it increased significantly the chances of work ability decrease without any illness. In the case of men high job strain was not related to the number of days spent on sick leave, while in the case of women this relationship was significant. In the case of men the combined effects of the job strain elements (lack of job control, job insecurity and job dissatisfaction) proved to be important risk factors for the quality of life, as dependent variable. However, in the case of women the combination of lack of job control, lack of co-worker support and job dissatisfaction turned out to be significant risk factors. On the basis of the Hungarian nationwide representative survey it was proved that the psychological work load of the Hungarian active employees increased compared to the situation from 1995. According to the authors calculations, the active workforce of our changing, globalising society spends annually, on the national level, more than 7.8 milliard HUF to pay the expenditures for the sick leave caused by high job stress. This sum does not contain the loss of productivity, neither the costs of the sanitary supply. The results of the two nationwide representative surveys draw our attention on the detrimental and costly effect of high job stress on the quality of life.
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