PURPOSE: The use of information and communication technology (ICT) is common in modern working life. ICT demands may give rise to experience of work-related stress. Knowledge about ICT demands in relation to other types of work-related stress and to self-rated health is limited. Consequently, the aim of this study was to examine the association between ICT demands and two types of work-related stress [job strain and effort-reward imbalance (ERI)] and to evaluate the association between these work-related stress measures and self-rated health, in general and in different SES strata.
METHODS: This study is based on cross-sectional data from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health collected in 2014, from 14,873 gainfully employed people. ICT demands, job strain, ERI and self-rated health were analysed as the main measures. Sex, age, SES, lifestyle factors and BMI were used as covariates.
RESULTS: ICT demands correlated significantly with the dimensions of the job strain and ERI models, especially with the demands (r = 0.42; p < 0.01) and effort (r = 0.51; p < 0.01) dimensions. ICT demands were associated with suboptimal self-rated health, also after adjustment for age, sex, SES, lifestyle and BMI (OR 1.49 [95 % CI 1.36-1.63]), but job strain (OR 1.93 [95 % CI 1.74-2.14) and ERI (OR 2.15 [95 % CI 1.95-2.35]) showed somewhat stronger associations with suboptimal self-rated health.
CONCLUSION: ICT demands are common among people with intermediate and high SES and associated with job strain, ERI and suboptimal self-rated health. ICT demands should thus be acknowledged as a potential stressor of work-related stress in modern working life.