Effort-reward imbalance at work is predicted by temporal and energetic characteristics of behavior: A population-based study

Hintsa, Taina; Hintsanen, Mirka; Jokela, Markus; Pulkki-Råback, Laura; Keltikangas-Järvinen, Liisa
June 2013
International Journal of Occupational Medicine & Environmental H;Jun2013, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p413
Academic Journal
Objective: Personality dispositions may influence perceptions of work stress. The paper examines the relationship between temperament in terms of Strelau's Regulative Theory of Temperament and the effort-reward imbalance and its components. Material and Methods: There were 890 participants (360 men) aged 37.9 years on average. Temperament traits of briskness and perseveration (temporal characteristics of behavior), sensory sensitivity, emotional reactivity, endurance and activity (energetic characteristics of behavior) were measured by Strelau & Zawadzki's Formal Characteristics of Behavior-Temperament Inventory (FCB-TI) in 1997 and 2001. Effort and reward at work were assessed with the original effort-reward imbalance (ERI) questionnaire of 2007. Results: Higher ERI at work was predicted by higher emotional reactivity, higher perseveration, lower briskness, and lower endurance. Higher effort and lower rewards at work were predicted by higher perseveration and lower endurance. The FCB-TI temperament characteristics accounted for 5.2%, 4.8% and 6.5% of the variance in the ERI, effort and reward, respectively. Lower emotional reactivity, lower perseveration, higher briskness and higher endurance predicted higher esteem at work, job promotion and job security. Conclusions: Individual differences in arousability, reflected in temporal and energetic characteristics of behavior, may predispose to or to protect from an effort-reward imbalance at work. Individual differences should be acknowledged in work stress prevention and developing interventions.


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