Saf Health Work. 2023 Mar;14(1):93-99. doi: 10.1016/j.shaw.2023.01.004. Epub 2023 Feb 4.
BACKGROUND: Effort-reward imbalance (ERI) and overcommitment at work have been associated poorer mental health. However, nonlinear and nonadditive effects have not been investigated previously.
METHODS: The association between effort, reward, and overcommitment with odds of poorer mental health was examined among a sample of 68 formal United States waste workers (87% male). Traditional, logistic regression and Bayesian Kernel machine regression (BKMR) modeling was conducted. Models controlled for age, education level, race, gender, union status, and physical health status.
RESULTS: The traditional, logistic regression found only overcommitment was significantly associated with poorer mental health (IQR increase: OR = 6.7; 95% CI: 1.7 to 25.5) when controlling for effort and reward (or ERI alone). Results from the BKMR showed that a simultaneous IQR increase in higher effort, lower reward, and higher overcommitment was associated with 6.6 (95% CI: 1.7 to 33.4) times significantly higher odds of poorer mental health. An IQR increase in overcommitment was associated with 5.6 (95% CI: 1.6 to 24.9) times significantly higher odds of poorer mental health when controlling for effort and reward. Higher effort and lower reward at work may not always be associated with poorer mental health but rather they may have an inverse, U-shaped relationship with mental health. No interaction between effort, reward, or overcommitment was observed.
CONCLUSION: When taking into the consideration the relationship between effort, reward, and overcommitment, overcommitment may be most indicative of poorer mental health. Organizations should assess their workers’ perceptions of overcommitment to target potential areas of improvement to enhance mental health outcomes.