Organizational justice and sleeping problems: The whitehall II study

Marko Elovainio, Jane E. Ferrie, David Gimeno, Roberto De Vogli, Martin Shipley, Eric J. Brunner, Meena Kumari, Jussi Vahtera, Michael G. Marmot, Mika Kivimäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES:: To test the hypothesis that organizational injustice contributes to sleeping problems. Poor sleep quality can be a marker of prolonged emotional stress and has been shown to have serious effects on the immune system and metabolism. METHODS:: Data were from the prospective Whitehall II study of white-collar British civil servants (3143 women and 6895 men, aged 35-55 years at baseline). Age, employment grade, health behaviors, and depressive symptoms were measured at Phase 1 (1985-1988) and baseline sleeping problems were assessed at Phase 2 (1989-1990). Organizational justice was assessed twice, at Phases 1 and 2. The outcome was mean of sleeping problems during Phases 5 (1997-1999) and 7 (2003-2004). RESULTS:: In men, low organizational justice at Phase 1 and Phase 2 were associated with overall sleeping problems, sleep maintenance problems, sleep onset problems, and nonrefreshing sleep at Phases 5 and 7. In women, a significant association was observed between low organizational justice and overall sleeping problems and sleep onset problems. These associations were robust to adjustments for age, employment grade, health behaviors, job strain, depressive symptoms, and sleeping problems at baseline. CONCLUSIONS:: This study shows that perceived unfair treatment at workplace is associated with increased risk of poor sleep quality in men and women, one potential mechanism through which justice at work may affect health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-340
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Fairness
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Public sector.
  • Sleep
  • Work organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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