A cross-national study on the multidimensional characteristics of the five-item psychological demands scale of the job content questionnaire

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Abstract

Background:

The five-item psychological demands scale of the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) has been assumed to be one-dimensional in practice.

Purpose:

To examine whether the scale has sufficient internal consistency and external validity to be treated as a single scale, using the cross-national JCQ datasetsfrom the United States, Korea, and Japan. Method: Exploratory factor analyses with 22 JCQ items, confirmatory factor analyses with the five psychological demands items, and correlations analyses with mental health indexes.

Results:

Generally, exploratory factor analyses displayed the predicted demand/ control/support structure with three and four factors extracted. However, at more detailed levels of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, the demands scale showed clear evidence of multi-factor structure. The correlations of items and subscales of the demands scale with mental health indexes were similar to those of the full scale in the Korean and Japanese datasets, but not in the U.S. data. In 4 out of 16 sub-samples of the U.S. data, several significant correlations of the components of the demands scale with job dissatisfaction and life dissatisfaction were obscured by the full scale.

Conclusion:

The multidimensionality of the psychological demands scale should be considered in psychometric analysis and interpretation, occupational epidemiologic studies, and future scale extension.

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