The objective was to explore the effects of age on the perception of psychosocial factors (PSF)
SUMER, a cross-sectional survey, was designed to characterise occupational exposures in a large representative sample of French employees. In 2010, 26 762 males and 20 019 females, aged 18 to 65, filled in the Karasek (skill discretion and decision authority, job demands, social support from colleagues and supervisors) and Siegrist (esteem, job security, job promotion) questionnaires. Additionally, participants were interviewed by occupational physicians about their work situation and occupational exposures. Graphical representations were used to characterise the PSF scores according to age. Then, breakpoints were identified using multiple change-point models. Finally, seniority, and working conditions were included as dependent factors in piecewise linear models with age, separately in men and women.
The graphical representations highlighted that perceptions were different for young and old workers compared to the middle-range age in both genders. These trends were confirmed statistically for young (breakpoint at 30 years) and for older workers (breakpoint at 55 years) mostly for the Siegrist scores. When seniority was taken into account, the effect of age on PSF scores was intensified for young newly hired (less than 3 years of experience) for the Karasek scores.
Results confirmed that young, and to a lesser extent, senior workers have different perceptions of PSF compared to middle-age group. Particularly, the effect of age was strengthened in young newly hired workers. Given the well-known impact of the PSF on health, OSH prevention should pay attention to these groups of workers.