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Starting in a high strain job…short pain?



Karasek (1979) defined a stressful job as a job with an imbalance between the demands of the job and the control one can exercise in that job (a ‘high strain job’). Previous research showed that starters in a high strain job are indeed less satisfied. They are also not compensated for the high workload they face. In this paper, we raise the question whether this strain (‘high strain job’) is only temporary. The results of our duration analysis show that those starting in a high strain job leave their job significantly sooner than those in an active job. However, this is no guarantee that the strain is only temporarily, since there is a significant probability of still having a high strain job at the age of 26. This finding determines our policy implication: the discussion on work stress should focus on those trapped in high strain jobs.

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