Getting along with co-workers had more of an impact on mortality than one's relationship with a supervisor, or even than having a heavy workload, Israeli researchers found. And, the amount of latitude afforded an employee varied by sex; men with more control had lower mortality and women, more mortality.
Researchers investigated the effects of the Job-Demand-Control-Support (JDC-S) model and its components of workload, control, and peer- and supervisor-social support, on all-cause mortality. Job demands were defined as perceived workload; job control was defined as discretion in how to perform the job, and social support was defined as "overall levels of helpful social interaction available on the job from both co-workers and supervisors."
The prospective study measured 820 healthy employees referred in 1988 to their HMO's screening center by their employers for routine exams. Those referred for physical or mental health problems were excluded. Follow-up data on all-cause mortality were obtained from computerized medical files in 2008. Results appeared in the May issue of Health Psychology.
During follow-up, 53 deaths occurred. Mortality was significantly lower for those reporting high levels of peer social support. (HR=.59) but not for those reporting high levels of supervisor social support (HR=.39).
Subgroup analysis showed that for the men, control reduced the risk of all-cause mortality (HR=.48), but it increased mortality risk in women (HR=1.70). A separate confirmatory factor analysis supported this.
And, the main effect of peer social support on mortality risk was significantly higher for those ages 38 to 43 but not for those younger or older than that group.