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.
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.
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.
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.