Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Job Demand/Control/Strain

  • Töres TheorellEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_902-2



The job demand/control model is used for studying psychosocial stressors in the work environment.


The demand/control model was created for the study of psychosocial working conditions. It was published by Robert Karasek in his Ph.D. thesis in 1976 (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and as a scientific article (Karasek 1979). While Karasek had already mentioned social support as a potentially important additional dimension, this part of the model – adding up to the demand/control/support model – was first published in 1986 (Johns Hopkins University) by Jeffrey V. Johnson in his Ph.D. thesis (Johnson 1989). Sociopsychological and biological theory underlying the model was further developed in 1990 by Karasek and Theorell (Karasek and Theorell 1990).

The basic underlying idea behind the creation of the model was that crucial psychosocial stressors (factors inducing adverse long-lasting stress...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Collins, S., Karasek, R. A., & Costas, K. (2005). Job strain and autonomic indices of cardiovascular disease risk. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 48, 182–193.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Hintsanen M., Elovainio M., Puttonen S., Kivimäki M., Lehtimäki T., Kähönen M., Juonala M., Rontu R., Viikari J.S., Raitakari O.T., & Keltikangas-Järvinen L. (2008). Val/Met polymorphism of the COMT gene moderates the association between job strain and early atherosclerosis in young men. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 50, 647–57.  https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0b013e318165c7ec.
  3. Johnson, J. V. (1989). Control, collectivity and the psychosocial work environment. In S. Sauter, J. J. Hurrell, & C. L. Cooper (Eds.), Job control and worker health. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Karasek, R. A. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude and mental strain: Implications for job redesign. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24, 285–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Karasek, R. A. (2008). Low social control and physiological deregulation – The stress-disequilibrium theory, towards a new demand-control model. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 34(6), 117–135.Google Scholar
  6. Karasek, R. A., & Theorell, T. (1990). Healthy work: Stress, productivity and the reconstruction of working life. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  7. Karasek, R. A., Brisson, C., Kawakami, N., Houtman, I., Bongers, P. M., & Amick, B. (1998). The job content questionnaire (JCQ): An instrument for internationally comparative assessments of psychosocial job characteristics. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 3, 322–355.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Kivimäki, M., Nyberg, S. T., Batty, G. D., Fransson, E. I., Heikkilä, K., Alfredsson, L., et al. (2012). IPD-Work Consortium. Job strain as a risk factor for coronary heart disease: A collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data. Lancet, 380, 1491–1497.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60994-5.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Theorell, T. (2009). Anabolism and catabolism. In S. Sonnentag, P. L. Perrewé, & D. C. Ganster (Eds.), Research in occupational stress and well-being (Current perspectives on job-stress recovery, Vol. 7, pp. 249–276). Bingley: Emerald/JAI Press.Google Scholar
  10. Theorell, T. (2014). Commentary triggered by the Individual Participant Data Meta Analysis Consortium of job strain and myocardial infarction risk. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 40, 89–95.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Theorell, T., Hammarström, A., Aronsson, G., Träskman Bendz, L., Grape, T., Hogstedt, C., et al. (2015). A systematic review including meta-analysis of work environment and depressive symptoms. BMC Public Health, 15, 738.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1954-4.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stress Research InstituteStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

Section editors and affiliations

  • Douglas P. Gross
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical TherapyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada