Document Type


Publication Date

August 2005


The purpose of this research is to understand the complex relationships between working conditions and occupational health. The research draws from labor process theory that generally views worker control over the labor process as essential to non-alienated labor and from epidemiologic models of host, agent/exposure, and environment. Using General Social Survey 2002 cross sectional data, I investigate the effects of standard epidemiologic factors and worker labor process control factors in multivariate models to predict the dependent variables of workplace injury, persistent pain, exhaustion, and general health status. I suggest that labor process autonomy, social cohesion and skill utilization generally have positive and protective effects on worker occupational health status net of socio-demographic, job status, exposures, and environments. The addition of labor process factors to the epidemiologic triad improves the model specification of persistent pain, exhaustion and general health status; however, the specification of workplace injury models was not improved. Analyses indicate that labor process control is protective for workers who do not perform heavy lifting, but such control may exacerbate workplace injury for those who do perform heavy lifting. Of particular interest is the significant protective effect of perceived safety climate in all models, which may reflect normative consent. The study concludes that the sociological addition of labor process factors to the epidemiologic model needs to be further modified to include issues of labor process consent and organizational commitment.