BACKGROUND: Research findings on the relationship between the psychosocial work environment and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) are equivocal. This might partly be due to studies having focused on a restricted set of psychosocial dimensions, thereby failing to capture all relevant domains.AIMS: To examine cross-sectional associations between seven psychosocial work environment domains and LTPA in a large sample of UK civil servants and to profile LTPA and consider this in relation to UK government recommendations on physical activity.METHODS: In 2012 Northern Ireland Civil Service employees completed a questionnaire including measures of psychosocial working conditions (Management Standards Indicator Tool) and LTPA. We applied bivariate correlations and linear regression analyses to examine relations between psychosocial working conditions and LTPA.RESULTS: Of 26000 civil servants contacted, 5235 (20%) completed the questionnaire. 24% of men and 17% of women reported having undertaken 30min or more of physical activity on five or more days in the past week. In men, job control (-0.08) and peer support (-0.05) were weakly but significantly negatively correlated with LTPA, indicating that higher levels of exposure to these psychosocial hazards was associated with lower levels of LTPA. Job role (-0.05) was weakly but significantly negatively correlated with LTPA in women. These psychosocial work characteristics accounted for 1% or less of the variance in LTPA.CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal research to examine cause-effect relations between psychosocial work characteristics and LTPA might identify opportunities for psychosocial job redesign to increase employees' physical activity during leisure time.
- Civil servants
- Management Standards Indicator Tool
- leisure-time physical activity
- psychosocial work environment
- work-related stress.