The relationship between working conditions and self-rated health among medical doctors: Evidence from seven waves of the Medicine in Australia Balancing Employment and Life (Mabel) survey

Allison Milner, Katrina Witt, Matthew J. Spittal, Marie Bismark, Melissa Graham, Anthony D. Lamontagne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Psychosocial job stressors, such as low control and high demands, have been found to influence the health and wellbeing of doctors. However, past research in this area has relied on cross-sectional data, which limits causal inferences about the influence of psychosocial job stressors on health. In this study, we examine this relationship longitudinally while also assessing whether the relationship between psychosocial job stressors and health is modified by gender. Methods: The data source was seven annual waves of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) survey. The outcome was self-rated health (measured using the SF-12), and key exposures reflected job control, job demands, work-life balance variables, employment arrangements, and aggression experienced at work. We used longitudinal fixed and random effects regression models to assess within and between-person changes in health. Results: Excessive job demands, low job control, feelings of not being rewarded at work, and work-life imbalance were associated with higher within-person odds of poorer self-rated health. Gender differences were apparent. For female doctors, work arrangements and work-life imbalance were associated with poorer self-rated health whilst task-based job stressors were associated with poorer self-rated health in male doctors. Conclusions: These results suggest the importance of addressing adverse working environments among doctors. Trial registration: Not applicable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number609
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2017


  • Employment
  • Health
  • Job stress
  • Medical doctors
  • Medicine
  • Work

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