Validity and Reliability of the Job Content Questionnaire in Formal and Informal Jobs in Brazil

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52 SJWEH Suppl 2008, no 6
Validity and reliability of the job content questionnaire in formal and informal jobs in Brazil by Tânia Maria de Araújo, PhD,1 Robert Karasek, PhD 2
de Araújo TM, Karasek R. Validity and reliability of the job content questionnaire in formal and informal jobs in Brazil. SJWEH Suppl. 2008;(6):52–59. Objectives This study evaluated the job content questionnaire (JCQ) in measuring work psychology aspects with respect to formal and informal jobs in Brazilian occupational groups. Methods A cross-sectional study was carried out in a random sample of 1311 ≥15-year-old residents in the urban area of the city of Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil. The Portuguese JCQ version included the recommended 49-item of the original version. The JCQ performance evaluation included descriptive analysis, discriminant analysis, internal consistency, and construct validity. Results Averages of the JCQ scales were similar for the formal and informal workers, except for decision authority (formal job: c=31.9; informal jobs: c=34.5). The averages of the Portuguese JCQ scales did not differ substantially from those obtained in other European, North American, and Japanese studies, albeit they were slightly lower in the Brazilian case. In general, Cronbach’s alpha coefficients revealed performance similar to other large-sample studies, showing acceptable internal consistency. The coefficients were relatively similar for formal and informal jobs. Factor analysis revealed high consistency with the theoretical model. Conclusions This is the first study to evaluate JCQ performance comparing formal and informal jobs in a developing country. The job content questionnaire presented a good global performance, and it did not differ substantially from those observed in other studies. These findings suggest that the job content questionnaire can be used in studies carried out in developing countries and in situations in which informal jobs are common. Key terms decision latitude; demand–control model; occupational stress; psychological demand; psychological distress.

1 Health Department, State University of Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil. 2 Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, United States. Reprint requests to: Dr TM de Araújo, KM 03, BR 116 Campus Universitário, Feira de Santana, BA, Brazil, 40110 180. [E-mail: ] There is a significant amount of scientific literature on the psychosocial aspects of work in developed countries. However, research addressing the measurement of these aspects in developing countries is recent and scarce. In developing countries, work organization aspects are usually considered to be a less relevant problem than other crucial problems, such as unemployment, accidents, and other occupational hazards that threaten life and put worker’s physical health at risk. Moreover, there is an assumption that instruments used to measure psychosocial aspects in developed countries are not applicable in developing countries because of different cultural contexts.

However, these arguments have been criticized because
of, at least, the following three factors: (i) the globalization process—many multinational companies have been operating in developing countries under job standards and technologies that are similar to those used in developed countries (1), (ii) social and economic structural heterogeneity in developing societies—which include, in the same region, areas with a high level of development (industrialized areas) and very poor areas, and (iii) the increasing rates of occupational diseases and disabilities related to work organization conditions shown by some developing countries. These three processes, acting together, reveal that psychosocial aspects at work are a relevant problem in different social and economic contexts. The impacts on mental and physical health are already visible in developing contexts (2, 3), and they indicate the...
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