Annet H. de Lange

Winner Dissertation Prize 2005

What about Causality? Examining Longitudinal Relations Between Work Characteristics and Mental Health

Supervisors: Prof. dr M.A.J. Kompier, Prof. dr P.M. Bongers, Dr I.L.D. Houtman, Dr T.W. Taris
Nomination: Radboud University Nijmegen, Faculty of Social Sciences

Report by the selection committee

Work and stress are subjects that in combination play an important role in practice. In psychology and physiology they rank among the most studied subjects. In her thesis Annet de Lange contends the obvious supposition that the characteristics of work and working conditions in certain cases lead to stress and eventually to sickness absence and even disability. Could it be that earlier health problems themselves have a negative influence on later working conditions? Dr De Lange compares her own empirical and longitudinal studies with a thorough review of previous work done elsewhere. She pays attention to the practice of prevention of absence through stress. She also tests the theory of relevant hypotheses regarding the relation between the health conditions of workers and characteristics of work. The results of her study lend support to the thesis that health problems and work influence each other both ways.