Dans cette étude prospective de cinq ans, l’exposition simultanée à des facteurs de stress psychosocial au travail et à des responsabilités familiales élevées a augmenté la prévalence de la détresse psychologique chez les femmes. Les facteurs de stress au travail étaient toutefois à l’origine de la plupart des effets, ce qui renforce leur importance en tant que facteurs de risque modifiables des problèmes de santé mentale des femmes.
Background Psychological distress is a strong and independent predictor of major depression. Assuming multiple roles (such as being both a mother and an employee) under stressful conditions may lead to psychological distress. This study evaluated, for the first time, the longitudinal effect of the simultaneous exposure to psychosocial work stressors and high family responsibilities on women’s psychological distress. Methods Women were assessed at baseline (N = 1307) and at 3- and 5-year follow-ups. Psychosocial work stressors of the demand-control and effort-reward imbalance models were measured with validated questionnaires. Family responsibilities were also self-reported and referred to the number of children and their age(s) as well as housework and childcare. Psychological distress was measured with the validated Psychiatric Symptoms Index questionnaire. Prevalence ratios (PR) of psychological distress were modeled with log-binomial regressions. Results Having high family responsibilities did not increase women’s prevalence of psychological distress. However, being exposed to either job strain or effort-reward imbalance led to a higher prevalence of psychological distress at the 3- and 5-year follow-ups (PR of 1.25-1.62). Being simultaneous exposed to these psychosocial work stressors and high family responsibilities also increased the prevalence of psychological distress (PR of 1.44-1.87), but no interactions were observed between stressors and responsibilities. Conclusions In this 5-year prospective study, simultaneous exposure to psychosocial work stressors and high family responsibilities increased the prevalence of psychological distress among women. Work stressors were, however, driving most of the effect, which reinforces their importance as modifiable risk factors of women’s mental health problems.