Roles of effort and reward in well-being for police officers in Singapore: The effort-reward imbalance model

Eunae Cho, Miaohua Chen, Shi Min Toh, Jansen Ang

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale Despite the growing body of research on the effort-reward imbalance (ERI) model, evidence is scarce for the generalizability of the model across various national and occupational contexts. Also, studies that examine a wider variety of health and well-being outcomes of ERI are warranted, especially in vocations in which effort and stress is known to be high and reward is usually limited – such as policing. Objective The current study examined the relationship between the ERI perception and four employee well-being outcomes (self-reported physical health, sickness absence, job satisfaction, and work-life effectiveness) among a sample of police officers in Singapore. Methods Cross-sectional survey data collected from a large representative sample of uniformed police officers from Singapore were used (N = 8729). Missing data were handled with the multiple imputation method and logistic regression analyses were used to test hypotheses. Results In line with the theory, employees characterized by high intrinsic effort and low reward (ERI > 1) reported significantly elevated odds ratios of poor physical health (OR = 1.25), job dissatisfaction (OR = 1.53), and work-life ineffectiveness (OR = 1.31). Contrary to expectations, an unusual relationship was observed such that police officers who were overcommitted exhibited lower odds ratios of the suboptimal outcomes. Interestingly, police officers in the low effort–low reward condition exhibited the worst outcomes, whereas officers in the high effort–high reward condition reported optimal outcomes. Findings were generally consistent across genders and age groups. Conclusions This research bolsters the core proposition of the ERI model and emphasizes the importance of social and occupational contexts in the study of ERI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113878
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Effort-reward imbalance
  • Health
  • Intrinsic efforts
  • Overcommitment
  • Police officers
  • Singapore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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