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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2016

The relationship between work stress and work ability among power supply workers in Guangdong, China: a cross-sectional study

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2016
Hualiang Li, Zhiting Liu, Runzhong Liu, Li Li, Aihua Lin
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

AL designed the research, supervised the implementation process and revised the manuscript. HL designed the research, implemented the field study and revised the manuscript. ZL designed the research, took part in the collection of data, conducted the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript. RL helped revise the manuscript. LL conceived of the study and participated in its design. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Faced with the challenge of population aging, a prolonged working life is increasingly important in today’s society. Maintaining work ability of employees is one of the effective ways to cope with the challenges to sustainability of the workforce presented by population aging. Researchers have shown ongoing interest in exploring the determinants of restricted work ability. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of work stress on work ability among power supply workers in Guangdong, China.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among power supply workers during August 2014 to September 2014. A total of 805 subjects were enrolled in the study. Work stress was assessed by the Job Content Questionnaire and the Effort Reward Imbalance Questionnaire. Work ability was assessed by the Work Ability Index (WAI). The structural equation model was applied to test the relationship between different work stress components and work ability simultaneously using the Job Demands-Resources model as a framework.


Job resources (measured by job control, reward and social support) were positively and directly associated with work ability (β = 0.70, P < 0.001). The association between job demands and work ability was also statistically significant (β = −0.09, P = 0.030). In addition, the findings also supported previous studies in that job demands were correlated with job resources (β = −0.26, P < 0.001).


Our findings suggest that decision makers and health care providers should consider increasing job resources available to power supply workers. Consideration of organizational changes related to the design of the job task also would be useful to improve the employees’ work ability.
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