Smoking and sedentary behavior as related to work organization

Gunn Johansson, Jeffrey V. Johnson, Ellen M. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is little research which has investigated whether working life may affect health behaviors. However, there is data suggesting that smoking as well as leisure activities are affected during times of stress. Both theoretical work and research suggests that work may socialize people such that the use of leisure time for active pursuits, including exercise, may be contingent upon jobs which promote interaction, learning, and activity on the job. In investigating whether the psychosocial structure of work might affect smoking and sedentary behavior, a subsample (n = 7.201) of a representative sample of the Swedish population aged 16-65 years was selected for study. Reports on job characteristics and health behaviors were obtained in personal or telephone interviews and a logistic regression analysis was performed. In general, job demands like shift work, piece work, hazardous exposure, and physical load tended to be associated with smoking and sedentary behavior, whereas job resources, including personal autonomy, were predictive of regular exercise, but unrelated to smoking behavior. Correlational patterns varied somewhat between sexes. The implications of these findings with respect to work organization, considerations in epidemiological research, and the conduct of health promotion programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-846
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1991



  • job socialization
  • sedentary behavior
  • smoking
  • stress
  • work organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Health(social science)

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