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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 372852, 7 pages
Research Article

The Use of Parsimonious Questionnaires in Occupational Health Surveillance: Psychometric Properties of the Short Italian Version of the Effort/Reward Imbalance Questionnaire

1Institute of Occupational Medicine, The Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, 00168 Rome, Italy
2State Police Health Service Department, Ministry of the Interior, Italy
3Department of Neuroscience, Ophthalmology and Genetics, University of Genoa, 16132 Genoa, Italy
4Department of Medical Sociology, University of Duesseldorf, 40225 Duesseldorf, Germany

Received 19 June 2012; Accepted 10 July 2012

Academic Editors: C. Fernandez-Llatas and O. Lazaro

Copyright © 2012 Nicola Magnavita et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. To perform a parsimonious measurement of workplace psychosocial stress in routine occupational health surveillance, this study tests the psychometric properties of a short version of the original Italian effort-reward imbalance (ERI) questionnaire. Methods. 1,803 employees (63 percent women) from 19 service companies in the Italian region of Latium participated in a cross-sectional survey containing the short version of the ERI questionnaire (16 items) and questions related to self-reported health, musculoskeletal complaints and job satisfaction. Exploratory factor analysis, internal consistency of scales and criterion validity were utilized. Results. The internal consistency of scales was satisfactory. Principal component analysis enabled to identify the model’s main factors. Significant associations with health and job satisfaction in the majority of cases support the notion of criterion validity. A high score on the effort-reward ratio was associated with an elevated odds ratio (OR = 2.71; 95% CI 1.86–3.95) of musculoskeletal complaints in the upper arm. Conclusions. The short form of the Italian ERI questionnaire provides a psychometrically useful tool for routine occupational health surveillance, although further validation is recommended.