The impact of physical and psychosocial demands when considering self-reported physical consequences: Understanding the effects of age and gender.



Objective: This study tests the hypotheses that 1) increased age is associated with higher perceived physical and psychosocial demands and 2) that increased age is also associated with higher perceived physical consequences of exposure to demands and 3) these effects will be different by gender. Methods: In 2008, the Australian government organization, Safe Work Australia conducted the National Hazard Exposure Worker Surveillance survey, which collected self-reported occupational exposure data from 4500 workers. Workers were asked to estimate exposure to a range of biomechanical and psychosocial demands. Relationships between covariates and outcome variables (physical and psychosocial demands and physical consequences) were tested using structural equation modelling. Models were stratified by gender as there were potential differences between males and females regarding exposure to hazards. Results: Among females, the results indicate that older age does not increase the association between perceived demands and physical consequences as there was no significant effect of age on the relationship between either physical demands (B= 0.003, n.s) or psychosocial demands (B= 0.003, n.s) and physical consequences. Among males, there may be a small effect of older age on the association between perceived physical demands and physical consequences (B= 0.003, p<0.05) but no effect of older age on the association between perceived psychosocial demands and physical consequences (B= - 0.002, n.s). Key messages 1. There are clear differences between males and females for the associations between percieved demands and physical consequnces 2. Age is a complex factor, particularly when considering the relationships between physical and psychosocial demands and consequences. 3. Although there are dissimilarities by gender for the associations between demands and physical consequences, these associations require further investigation using longitudinal datasets. Key words: social determinants of health, occupational health, Ageing


Tessa Keegel