Keynote Speaker

The STAR Early Career Award Address

Jian Li

University of Wuppertal, Germany

Jian Li obtained a PhD in Public Health from the Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, in 2005.  He is currently working on his second doctorate, in occupational safety in health, at the University of Wuppertal in Germany.

He has published 45 peer-reviewed papers in the areas of work stress and health, social epidemiology, and the health implications of aging and retirement.  His work as appeared in such high-level journals as the Social Science & Medicine, Journal of Epidemiology, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, and International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Jian Li is the recipient of STAR’s 2010 Early Career Achievement Award.  The Award was established by STAR in 1999 in order to honor early career achievement in the science of stress research.


Jian Li’s Early Career Award Address takes place on Wednesday, 4 August 2010, from 15:30 to 16:10.

Psychosocial Factors and Work and Health: Empirical Evidence from China
As a developing country with rapid industrialization, China is undergoing dramatic transformation of the economic globalization. The public have shown increasing concerns about psychosocial factors and work-related stress, and the consequent outcomes, such as health and organizational well-being. This presentation reviews research findings during the past 15 years regarding the measurement of psychosocial work environment and work stress, and its association with health effects in China.

Based on our official surveillance data, the unemployment rate and working hour are kept increasing in the past years. And 39.1% working men and 28.6% working women reported they had high or very high work stress according to our recent survey. The measurement of psychosocial work environment is generally relied on theoretical models of stress, well-established questionnaires of work stress have been introduced into China with satisfactory psychometric properties, and these questionnaires have been extensively used in recent epidemiologic studies. The empirical evidence from China indicates that a wide range of psychosocial factors in workplace (for example, psychological demands, emotional demands, job control, social support, reward from work, organizational justice, social capital at work, etc) have significant association with cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and coronary heart disease), mental illness (psychological distress, depression, burnout, and health functioning), reproductive dysfunction in women (menstrual disorders and low birth weight), as well as musculoskeletal disorders. It also shows that psychosocial stress at work can cause job dissatisfaction, turnover, and further productivity loss. However, most studies were designed as cross-sectional.

In future, research on work stress and health in China should focus more on a prospective study design, disadvantaged working populations (such as women and precarious employees), and cultural differences. In additional, well-designed intervention studies of worksite stress reduction are expected.

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