Association of job demands with work engagement of Japanese employees: Comparison of challenges with hindrances (J-HOPE)

Akiomi Inoue, Norito Kawakami, Akizumi Tsutsumi, Akihito Shimazu, Koichi Miyaki, Masaya Takahashi, Sumiko Kurioka, Hisashi Eguchi, Masao Tsuchiya, Kazuhiko Enta, Yuki Kosugi, Tomoko Sakata, Takafumi Totsuzaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives:Recent epidemiological research in Europe has reported that two groups of job demands, i.e., challenges and hindrances, are differently associated with work engagement. The purpose of the present study was to replicate the crosssectional association of workload and time pressure (as a challenge) and role ambiguity (as a hindrance) with work engagement among Japanese employees. Methods:Between October 2010 and December 2011, a total of 9,134 employees (7,101 men and 1,673 women) from 12 companies in Japan were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire comprising the Job Content Questionnaire, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Generic Job Stress Questionnaire, short 10-item version of the Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire, short nine-item version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, and demographic characteristics. Multilevel regression analyses with a random intercept model were conducted. Results: After adjusting for demographic characteristics, workload and time pressure showed a positive association with work engagement with a small effect size (standardized coefficient [β = 0.102, Cohen's d [d] = 0.240) while role ambiguity showed a negative association with a large effect size (β =20.429, d = 1.011). After additionally adjusting for job resources (i.e., decision latitude, supervisor support, co-worker support, and extrinsic reward), the effect size of workload and time pressure was not attenuated (β = 0.093, d = 0.234) while that of role ambiguity was attenuated but still medium (β =20.242, d = 0.609). Conclusions: Among Japanese employees, challenges such as having higher levels of workload and time pressure may enhance work engagement but hindrances, such as role ambiguity, may reduce it.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere91583
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr 10
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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