Hugo Westerlund

Hugo Westerlund
Stockholm University | SU · Stress Research Institute

Professor

About

349
Publications
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13,122
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (349)
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Older workers are expected to suffer more from work changes than younger ones, but empirical evidence is lacking. Negative responses to work changes may result rather from maladaptive coping expectations. This study examined possible age differences in job and life satisfaction, and sleep disturbances, after work changes (voluntary and invo...
Article
Full-text available
Background Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of several chronic diseases. In this multicohort study, we estimated the number of life-years without major chronic diseases according to different characteristics of alcohol use. Methods In primary analysis, we pooled individual-level data from up to 129,942 adults across 12 cohort studies w...
Article
Background Somatic symptoms among adolescents are common, yet little is known about long-term trajectories of somatic symptoms and the factors in adolescence that shape them. We examined individual, family and school-based factors at age 16 as predictors of trajectories of somatic symptoms over 27 years. Methods Participants from the Northern Swed...
Article
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The need to retain individuals longer in the workforce is acknowledged in many high-income countries. The present study therefore aimed to examine the importance of physically demanding work tasks (PDWT) and physically hazardous work environment (PHWE) in relation to retirement timing among pensionable workers (≥61 years). A particular question was...
Article
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Objective: In terms of prevention, it is important to determine effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD) when some workplace psychosocial resources are high while others are low. The aim of the study was to assess the prospective relationship between clustering of workplace psychosocial resources and risk of CVD among employees. Methods: We poole...
Article
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Increasing numbers of older workers continue to work after being eligible to claim a state pension, yet little is known about the quality of these jobs. We examine how psychosocial and physical job quality as well as job satisfaction vary over the late career in three contrasting national settings: Sweden, Japan and the United States. Analyses usin...
Article
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Providing unpaid informal care to someone who is ill or disabled is a common experience in later life. While a supportive and potentially rewarding role, informal care can become a time and emotionally demanding activity, which may hinder older adults’ quality of life. In a context of rising demand for informal carers, we investigated how caregivin...
Article
Research suggests that work-related factors like job insecurity increases the risk of major depression (MD), although it is unclear whether the association is causal. Research further suggests that job insecurity increases sleep disturbances, which is also a risk factor for MD. Based on current knowledge, it is possible that job insecurity operates...
Article
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Due to an ageing population, governments in European countries are striving to keep older workers longer in the workforce. Remarkably few studies have paid attention to the influence of psychosocial working conditions on timing of retirement for older workers in and beyond normative retirement age. The aim of the present study was to examine whethe...
Article
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This paper uses data from the biennial Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health to examine changes in job quality among older workers, controlling for work intensity and employment characteristics. Job quality outcomes included job satisfaction and physical (dangerous, strenuous or unpleasant work) and psychosocial (job strain, effort-rew...
Article
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This paper examines job satisfaction and psychosocial and physical job quality over the late career in three contrasting national settings: Sweden, Japan and the United States. The data come from an ex-post harmonized dataset of individuals aged 50 to 75 years constructed from the biennial Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH,...
Article
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This qualitative paper focuses on individuals who work after pensionable age, a distinctive period in the late career when workers are supported by the known and reliable income of a pension. Using constant comparative analysis, we analyzed interviews from a purposive sample of 25 Swedish people in their late sixties and early seventies. We examine...
Article
Objective: To examine whether characteristics of workplace psychosocial resources are associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes among employees. Research design and methods: Participants were 49,835 employees (77% women, aged 40-65 years, and diabetes free at baseline) from the Finnish Public Sector cohort study. Characteristics of horizontal...
Article
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This study examined how the cessation of work at retirement affects daily measures of actigraphy-measured and self-rated sleep quality. Time in bed or asleep and stress at bedtime were examined as potential mechanisms. In total 117 employed participants who were aged 60–72 years and planned to retire soon were recruited to the Swedish Retirement St...
Article
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Ever more people are in paid work following the age of state pension availability, and yet the experience of working in this phase of the late career has been little studied. We interviewed a purposive sample of 25 Swedish people in their mid- to late sixties and early seventies, many of whom were or had recently been working while claiming an old-...
Article
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Large numbers of people remain in paid work after pensionable age, often in bridge jobs or with reduced working hours. Remarkably, knowledge about the quality of these jobs relative to those taken prior to pension eligibility is very limited. In this paper, we examined changes in job quality among workers in their sixties in the context of contempo...
Article
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Growing evidence indicates that retiring from paid work is associated, at least in the short-term, with dramatic reductions in sleep difficulties and more restorative sleep. However, much is still not known, in particular how universal these improvements are, how long they last, and whether they relate to the work environment. A methodological chal...
Article
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Background Studies on the association between long working hours and health have captured only a narrow range of outcomes (mainly cardiometabolic diseases and depression) and no outcome-wide studies on this topic are available. To achieve wider scope of potential harm, we examined long working hours as a risk factor for a wide range of disease and...
Article
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Background Welfare societies like Sweden face challenges in balancing the budget while meeting the demand for good quality healthcare. The aim of this study was to analyse whether care quality, operationalized as survival of dental fillings, is predicted by workplace social capital and if this effect is direct or indirect (through stress and/or job...
Article
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Health benefits of active commuting and short commuting time are well-documented; however, limited evidence exists on the effects of commuting distance. We examined longitudinal associations between commuting distance and behavior-related health. Participants were from four survey waves of the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (201...
Article
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Objectives: This prospective cohort study aimed to investigate gender harassment and sexual harassment as risk factors for prospective long-term sickness absence (LTSA, ≥21 days). Furthermore, support from colleagues was investigated as a moderating factor of this association. Methods: Information on gender harassment, sexual harassment and supp...
Article
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To address the challenges of demographic aging, governments and organizations encourage extended working lives. This study investigates how individual health- and age-related workplace factors contribute to preferred, expected and actual retirement timing, as well as to the congruency between preferences vs. expectations, and preferences vs. actual...
Article
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Background The influence of individual and home neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) on health-related behaviors have been widely studied, but the majority of these studies have neglected the possible impact of the workplace neighborhood SES. Objective To examine within-individual associations between home and work place neighborhood SES and he...
Article
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The purpose of the present study was to validate the short version of The Psychosocial Safety Climate questionnaire (PSC-4, Dollard, 2019) and to establish benchmarks indicating risk levels for use in Sweden. Cross-sectional data from (1) a random sample of employees in Sweden aged 25-65 years (n = 2847) and (2) a convenience sample of non-manageri...
Article
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Objective: This study aimed to examine the onset of workplace bullying as a risk factor for BMI increase. Methods: Repeated biennial survey data from three Nordic cohort studies were used, totaling 46,148 participants (67,337 participant observations) aged between 18 and 65 who did not have obesity and who were not bullied at the baseline. Multi...
Article
Objectives: We aimed to determine the effect of workplace violence on long-term sickness absence, and whether social support from supervisors and colleagues buffer this effect. Methods: Information on workplace violence and social support were derived from the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study in 2000, 2005 and 2010 and the Swedish Longitudin...
Article
Objectives Psychosocial job strain has been associated with a range of adverse health outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine the association between psychosocial job strain and prospective risk of polypharmacy (the prescription of ≥5 medications) and to evaluate whether coping strategies can modify this risk. Methods Cohort study of 9703 wo...
Article
Exposure to technostress operationalised as ICT demands is more prevalent in higher socioeconomic groups, but little is known about the exposure in different occupational groups considering industry and position. The aim of the present study was to explore the exposure to ICT demands in managers and other occupational groups. Cross-sectional self-r...
Article
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To examine the relation between long working hours and change in body mass index (BMI). We performed random effects meta-analyses using individual-participant data from 19 cohort studies from Europe, US and Australia (n = 122,078), with a mean of 4.4-year follow-up. Working hours were measured at baseline and categorised as part time (<35 h/week),...
Article
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Background: A maintained psychological wellbeing is important in order to continue working longer and remain active into older age. However, little is known about impact of different organizational factors, such as downsizing, on the mental health of older workers exiting the labor market. The aim in this study was to investigate trajectories of p...
Article
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This study presents the Swedish standard version of the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire, COPSOQ III, and investigates its reliability and validity at individual and workplace levels with the aim of establishing benchmarks for the psychosocial work environment. Cross-sectional data from (1) a random sample of employees in Sweden aged 25–65 yea...
Article
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Job insecurity has been linked to increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but underlying mechanisms remain uncertain. Our aim was to assess the extent to which this association is mediated through life style, physiological, or psychological factors. A total of 3,917 men and women free from CHD provided data on job insecurity in the Whitehal...
Article
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Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate staff‐assessed care quality as an indicator of register‐based measures of care quality at dental clinics, more specifically register‐based measures of survival of dental fillings and initiation of preventive treatments for caries patients. Methods This prospective study includes data from cross‐sect...
Article
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Objectives Previous research suggesting that open-plan office environments are associated with higher rates of sickness absence rely on self-reports which can be affected by recall bias. This paper investigates the associations of sickness absence, obtained from employer records as well as self-reports, with office type (cell offices and different...
Article
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Background Job strain is implicated in many atherosclerotic diseases, but its role in peripheral artery disease ( PAD ) is unclear. We investigated the association of job strain with hospital records of PAD , using individual‐level data from 11 prospective cohort studies from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. Methods and Results Jo...
Article
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Importance It is well established that selected lifestyle factors are individually associated with lower risk of chronic diseases, but how combinations of these factors are associated with disease-free life-years is unknown. Objective To estimate the association between healthy lifestyle and the number of disease-free life-years. Design, Setting,...
Article
Objectives Retirement is a major life transition. However, previous evidence on its mental health effects has been inconclusive. Whether retirement is desirable or not may depend on pre-retirement work characteristics. We investigated trajectories of depressive symptoms across retirement and how a number of psychosocial working characteristics infl...
Preprint
Providing unpaid informal care to someone who is ill or disabled is a common experience in later life. While a supportive and potentially rewarding role, informal care can become a time and emotionally demanding activity, which may hinder older adults’ quality of life. In a context of rising demand for informal carers, we investigated how caregivin...
Article
Full-text available
Background We examined socioeconomic inequalities in disability-free life expectancy in older men and women from England and the United States and explored whether people in England can expect to live longer and healthier lives than those in the United States. Methods We used harmonized data from the Gateway to Global Aging Data on 14,803 individu...
Article
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Work stress and poor sleep are closely related in cross‐sectional data, but evidence from prospective data is limited. We analysed how perceived stress and work stressors (work demands, decision authority and workplace social support) are related to key dimensions of insomnia over time, using structural equation modelling. Biennial measurements fro...
Article
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Objective This study aimed to investigate the hypothesis that negative status incongruence may contribute to explain higher risk of mental ill-health and sickness absence in human service occupations (HSO). Methods Participants from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health who responded to questionnaires in both 2014 and 2016 (N=11 81...
Article
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Objective. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between an individual’s level of perceived control over labor market position (locked-in and not locked-in) and self-rated health and psychological well-being.Methods. A representative sample (n = 11,675) of the working population in southern Sweden responded to a questionnaire.Result...
Article
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Objectives Several recent large-scale studies have indicated a prospective association between job strain and coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Job strain is also associated with poorer mental health, a risk factor for cardiometabolic disease. This study investigates the prospective relationships between change in job strain, poor mental...
Article
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Objectives Psychosocial work demands and physical workload are important causes of ill health. The dramatic demographic changes in society make it important to understand if such factors change with ageing, but this is presently not known. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether psychosocial work demands and physical workload ch...
Article
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Background and aim: Workplace Social Capital has been suggested as a useful concept when addressing organizational and social factors of the work environment. The overall aim of the present study is to establish and evaluate the construct validity of a measure of Workplace Social Capital based on the operationalization suggested in the third versi...
Article
Background: Retirement has been associated with improved mental health, but it is unclear how much this is due to the removal of work-related stressors. We examined rates of psychotropic medication use before and after the transition to disability retirement due to mental, musculoskeletal and other causes by pre-retirement levels of perceived work...
Article
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Purpose The knowledge about the association between Information and Communication Technology (ICT) demands at work and self-rated health (SRH) is insufficient. The aim of this study was to examine the association between repeated exposure to high ICT demands at work, and risk of suboptimal SRH, and to determine modifications by sex or socioeconomic...
Article
Full-text available
Although retirement involves a radical change in daily activities, income, social roles and relationships, and the transition from paid work into retirement can, therefore, be expected to affect sleep, little is known about the effects of old-age retirement on changes in sleep disturbances, and how the impact of retirement may vary by gender, age a...
Article
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Objective: Inflammation may underlie the association between psychological stress and cardiometabolic diseases, but this proposition has not been tested longitudinally. We investigated whether the circulating inflammatory markers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) mediate the relationship between psychosocial work characteristics an...
Article
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Objective To examine whether physical inactivity is a risk factor for dementia, with attention to the role of cardiometabolic disease in this association and reverse causation bias that arises from changes in physical activity in the preclinical (prodromal) phase of dementia. Design Meta-analysis of 19 prospective observational cohort studies. Da...
Article
Background The aim was to use a theoretical framework developed by Bronfenbrenner in order to investigate if the association between school connectedness and family climate at age 16 and mental health symptoms at age 43 is mediated by social and professional establishment at age 30. Methods Data were drawn from The Northern Swedish Cohort, a prosp...
Article
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Objectives: The life event of retirement may be associated with changes in levels of depressive symptoms. The use of polynomial group-based trajectory modelling allows any changes to vary between different groups in a sample. A new approach, estimating these models using B-splines rather than polynomials, may improve modelling of complex changes in...
Article
Aims: To assess the associations between bullying and violence at work and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Methods and results: Participants were 79 201 working men and women, aged 18-65 years and free of CVD and were sourced from three cohort studies from Sweden and Denmark. Exposure to workplace bullying and violence was measured at baseline usi...
Article
The large postwar baby-boomer generations are currently retiring from labor market in the US and in Europe. The transition to retirement is considered an important turning point which is accompanied by changes in many aspects of life. The international symposium will explore the dynamic relationships between employment histories, transition into re...
Article
Labour market segmentation theories suggest that permanent and temporary workers are exposed to economic risks to different degrees, and differ in their working life quality and well-being. However, few studies have tested these ideas during times of economic crisis. Also, little is known about how the self-employed compare to permanent and tempora...
Article
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Background Although long working hours have been shown to be associated with the onset of cardiometabolic diseases, the clinical risk factor profile associated with long working hours remains unclear. We compared the clinical risk profile between people who worked long hours and those who reported being never exposed to long hours. Methods A cross...
Article
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Background: There are striking socioeconomic differences in life expectancy, but less is known about inequalities in healthy life expectancy and disease-free life expectancy. We estimated socioeconomic differences in health expectancies in four studies in England, Finland, France and Sweden. Methods: We estimated socioeconomic differences in hea...
Article
Background: Organized group activities (e.g. sports or arts clubs) have long been noted as important developmental settings for youth, yet previous studies on the relationships between participation and mental health outcomes have focused on short-term effects among school-aged adolescents. The subsequent period of life, emerging adulthood, has bee...
Article
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Many groups of immigrants have worse health than the native population in the host countries. One possible explanation for this is that immigrants are disadvantaged in the labor market, since it has been shown that both precarious and locked-in labor market position can be associated with health problems. However, no published study to date has ana...
Article
Background: Obesity increases the risk of several chronic diseases, but the extent to which the obesity-related loss of disease-free years varies by lifestyle category and across socioeconomic groups is unclear. We estimated the number of years free from major non-communicable diseases in adults who are overweight and obese, compared with those wh...
Article
Obesity increases the risk of several chronic diseases, but the extent to which the obesity-related loss of disease-free years varies by lifestyle category and across socioeconomic groups is unclear. We estimated the number of years free from major non-communicable diseases in adults who are overweight and obese, compared with those who are normal...