Aim: We studied occupational stress and its effects on health in a sample of Italian chefs using a structural equation modeling (SEM) analytical approach.
Methods. In an online study, 710 chefs were recruited through the Italian Chefs Federation. They answered several questionnaires to evaluate whether the risk of occupational stress (measured with the Karasek’s Job Content Questionnaire and Siegrist’s Effort-Reward Imbalance) correlates with the quality of life and the prevalence of health complaints. We also sought to evaluate whether individual characteristics (age, sex or BMI) or work-related factors (i.e, chef categories, job duration and length of working day) might be considered as stress risk factors.
Results: Forty-seven percent of the chefs (88% male, mean age: 44.4 ± 6.3 years; BMI: 28.5 ± 1.2; job duration: 24.9 ± 4.1 years; working hours per week: 66.4 ± 28.9) reported at least two or more health complaints. SEM analyses demonstrated that the occupational job duration and the length of their working week in chefs are significantly associated with a lower quality of life and an increasing prevalence of health complaints. This relationship is mediated by stress level, which positively correlates with a lower quality of life and with the increasing prevalence of health complaints. Age, sex, and unhealthy lifestyles do not affect this pattern of findings.
Conclusion: Factors as job duration and the length of working day can be considered as stress predictors in chef-related daily activity, which increase the likelihood of illness.