News Room

The impact of work on (un)healthy aging: How to reduce social inequalities?


Organisational Psychology Group &

Work and Equalities Institute

Tuesday October 22nd 2019, 6.00pm-7.30pm,

Main Lecture Theatre (Room G.003)


Professor Johannes Siegrist

University of Düsseldorf, Germany


The impact of work on (un)healthy aging:

How to reduce social inequalities?

Epidemiologic evidence indicates that the quality of work and employment has a direct effect on workers‘ health and their aging process. This holds true for material (physical) and psychosocial (mental, emotional) aspects of work. Moreover, this quality is socially graded, with lower levels among workers in lower socioeconomic positions (SEP). In this presentation, new findings on this social gradient and its effects on health are presented and discussed, with special emphasis on an adverse psychosocial work environment, as defined by the effort-reward imbalance (ERI) model. High ERI is prospectively associated with elevated risks of a variety of stress-related disorders, and these effects are often particularly strong among working people with low SEP. These theory-based findings can instruct measures towards reducing work-related health inequalities. To improve the quality of work and employment these measures need to be implemented at two levels, the organizational level of worksite health promotion in companies and the national/international level of appropriate social and labor policies.


Johannes Siegrist is Senior Professor of Work Stress Research at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Duesseldorf, Germany. Trained as sociologist at the University of Freiburg i.Br. he held Professorships at Marburg University (1973-1992) and Duesseldorf University (1992-2012) and Visiting Professorships at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, USA (1981) and Utrecht University, The Netherlands (1993). His main research area is social determinants of health, with a focus on stressful psychosocial work environments, being the author of the internationally established effort-reward imbalance model. In addition to extensive, long-standing scientific research he has been –and continues to be – involved in policy-oriented collaboration, in particular with WHO and ILO. Among other distinctions he is a member of Academia Europaea (London) and a corresponding member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences.

6th September 2019