In psychosocial occupational epidemiology, most past research has focused on the demand-control (DC) model, and in recent decades also on the effort-reward imbalance (ERI) model, in order to detect risk factors for health. The focus on these models raise: a) priority, b) conceptual and c) methodological issues that will be discussed in the article. The priority issues pertain to whether there is empirical evidence for the focus on the two models. For conceptual issues, main questions are whether the empirical confirmation of the assumptions of these models holds and if the sub-dimensions of the models’ scales have equally strong health effects. Concerning methodological issues, we discuss how exposure to job strain is categorized, how ERI has previously been measured, and the validity of self-reports of job strain. To tackle the open questions, main reviews were reviewed and supplemented by own assessments of the existing literature on mental health and coronary heart disease.
Keywords: Epidemiology, mental health, coronary heart disease, psychosocial factors, work, demand-control, effort-reward