NFA: Psychosocial Job Exposure Matrix Research

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A job exposure matrix (JEM) is an instrument that assigns levels of occupational exposure to job titles. JEMs are particularly interesting for studies using national health registers that cover the total workforce. Although the first JEMs for psychosocial work factors have been developed in Sweden already in the early 1980s, psychosocial JEMs have been relatively seldom used in research studies. In recent years, though, there seems to be a revival of the method, with new psychosocial JEMs developed in Finland, France, and The Netherlands.

At the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, we are currently conducting four research projects on the development, testing and application of psychosocial JEMs. These include:

  1. participation in a transdisciplinary national project to develop JEMs for a wide range of occupational exposures in Denmark (DOC*X project),
  2. a project on young employees, following them from their first entrance into the labour market (DAWCO project),
  3. a project examining risk of chronic disease, sickness absence and disability pension within a larger Nordic research project on healthy ageing (JEMPAD), and
  4. a project examining the association of emotional demands at work with labour market participation (Følkat).

We constructed the JEMS using data from NFA’s ‘Danish Work Environment Cohort Study’ and ‘Work Environment and Health in Denmark’ study. Earlier this year, we started analysing associations of JEMs with health and labour market outcomes in nationwide, register-based cohorts. Recently, we published the first article on risk of musculoskeletal pain. Several more articles are expected from the projects in 2019 and 2020.

Contact: Reiner Rugulies, NFA

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