Job Demands and Job Control as Predictors of Depressive Symptoms: Moderating Effects of Negative Childhood Socioemotional Experiences

Laura Pulkki-Råback, Marko Elovainio, Marianna Virtanen, Mika Kivimäki, Mirka Hintsanen, Taina Hintsa, Markus Jokela, Sampsa Puttonen, Matti Joensuu, Jari Lipsanen, Olli T. Raitakari, Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


There have been calls to know more about vulnerability factors that may predispose to adverse health outcomes at work. We examined if childhood adverse experiences would affect vulnerability to psychosocial stress factors at work. A nationally representative sample of 1546 Finnish men and women was followed up from childhood to adulthood. Childhood adverse experiences consisted of socioeconomic and emotional factors. Job demands and job control were measured 21 years later, and depressive symptoms were measured 21 and 27 years after the childhood measurements. Job demands predicted depressive symptoms over 6 years, and the association was modified by childhood emotional adversity. Participants with three or more emotional adversities in childhood had more depressive symptoms in response to high job demands compared with participants with zero or one emotional adversities in childhood (Betas = −1.40 and −2.01, ps < 0.05 and <0.01). No such moderating effect by childhood adverse experiences was found for the association between job control and depressive symptoms. Although modest in effect size, these findings provide a developmental viewpoint for understanding the role of childhood experiences in work-related stress factors. Such knowledge can enhance understanding of individual differences in vulnerability to the demands of working life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages12
JournalStress and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • childhood adversity
  • depression
  • job demands
  • longitudinal study
  • vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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