Job Intensity: Evidence from Low- and Middle-Income Countries

M. Mutambudzi, Anushiya Vanajan

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter provides an overview of work intensity in LMIC. Work intensity is measured by different constructs that capture work environment characteristics, which describe aspects of heavy workload, work organization and timing, conflict, and effort exerted to complete tasks, that may result in work-related stress. Research emanating from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) on the predictors, prevalence, and outcomes of work intensity is limited, in part due to lack of resources and quality data. While evidence from high-income countries (HIC) indicates that intensification of work is damaging to health, social, and work-related well-being, studies from HIC cannot be generalized to LMIC which face unique challenges that exacerbate the vulnerability of workers. Distinctive factors such as collectivism, political instability, poverty, extended work days, high prevalence of precarious and informal work, limited labor laws, and poor regulation have a negative impact on workers in LMIC and exacerbate work intensity in ways not typically observed in HIC. There is current, albeit limited, evidence from low- and middle-income regions that provides an initial and partial understanding of the prevalence, determinants, and consequences of work intensity the regions explored. Drawbacks to existing occupational health research and literature are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Socioeconomic Determinants of Occupational Health
EditorsT. Theorell
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Mar 2020

Publication series

NameHandbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences
PublisherSpringer, Cham


  • Work intensity
  • Workload
  • Job demands
  • Time poverty
  • Informal workers
  • Collectivism


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