The bidirectional relationships between effort-reward imbalance and sleep problems among older workers

Eunae Cho, Tuo Yu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sleep problems are common among working individuals. A growing body of research has documented that effort-reward imbalance (ERI) predicts poor sleep outcomes. Objective: Extending this literature, we investigated the bidirectional relationship between ERI and sleep problems; for each direction, we tested predictor's baseline level and its changes over time. Data: We drew a subsample of older workers aged 55 years and older from the Health and Retirement Study (N=860). Design: We examined whether baseline ERI and ERI changes predict sleep problems at follow-up. In parallel, we examined whether baseline sleep problems and sleep problem changes predict ERI at follow-up. Results: For the ERI-to-sleep-problems direction, baseline ERI predicted the experience of any sleep problems at follow-up. The odds of experiencing sleep problems at follow-up was higher among respondents who consistently perceived ERI over the 4-year compared with those who remain balanced. For the sleep-problems-to-ERI direction, baseline sleep problems predicted ERI at follow-up. Older workers who repeatedly reported sleep problems over the 4-year period had the greatest odds to perceive ERI at follow-up. Conclusion: ERI and sleep problems are reciprocally related among older workers. Both ERI and sleep problems change over time, hence considering their dynamic nature may provide additional insights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Changes
  • Effort-reward imbalance model
  • Health and retirement study
  • Longitudinal
  • Reciprocal
  • Senior workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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