Skip to main content

Work Dissatisfaction and Sleep Problems among Canadians in the Latter Half of Life

  • Kyla Brown (a1) and Alex Bierman (a1)

This study examined the relationship between work dissatisfaction and sleep problems among Canadian adults in the latter half of life, as well as how gender and social contact moderate this relationship. Data were obtained from the Canadian General Social Survey, Cycle 21 (2007), which sampled adults aged 45 and older in 2007. Analyses focused on individuals with employment as their main activity. Analyses show that work dissatisfaction positively predicts trouble sleeping. There are no significant gender differences in this relationship. Social contact with friends buffers this relationship, but social contact with family does not, and buffering does not vary significantly between men and women. This research contributes to knowledge on sleep problems by showing that work dissatisfaction is adversely associated with sleep problems among Canadians in the latter half of life, but social contact with friends can weaken this deleterious relationship.

Cette étude a examiné la relation entre l’insatisfaction au travail et les troubles du sommeil parmi les adultes canadiens dans la seconde moitié de la vie, ainsi que la façon dont le genre et les contacts sociaux modèrent cette relation. Les données proviennent de l’Enquête sociale générale du Canada, cycle 21 (2007), qui a échantillonné les adultes âgés de 45 ans et plus en 2007. Les analyses ont porté sur les personnes dont l’activité principale était l’emploi. Les analyses montrent que l’insatisfaction au travail prédit positivement des troubles du sommeil. Il n’y a pas de différence significative entre les sexes dans cette relation. Le contact social avec les amis amortie cette relation, mais le contact social avec la famille ne le fait pas, et le tamponnement ne varie pas de manière significative entre les hommes et les femmes. Cette recherche contribue à la connaissance des troubles du sommeil en montrant que l’insatisfaction au travail est négativement associée aux troubles du sommeil chez les Canadiens dans la seconde moitié de la vie; cependant, le contact social avec les amis peut s’atténuer cette relation délétère.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence and requests for reprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adresées à : Alex Bierman, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Sociology University of Calgary 2500 University Dr. N.W Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4 (
Hide All
Addis, M., & Mahalik, J. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist, 58(1), 514.
Ailshire, J., & Burgard, S. (2012). Family relationships and troubled sleep among U.S. adults: Examining the influences of contact frequency and relationship quality. Health and Social Behaviour, 53(2), 248262.
Åkerstedt, T., Nordin, M., Alfredsson, L., Westerholm, P., & Kecklund, G. (2012). Predicting changes to sleep complaints from baseline values and changes in work demands, work control, and work preoccupation—The WOLF-project. Sleep Medicine, 13(1), 7380.
Ali, T., & Akhter, I. (2009). Job satisfaction of faculty members in private universities – in context of Bangladesh. International Business Research, 2(4), 167175.
Baiden, P., Fallon, B., den Dunnen, W., & Boateng, G. (2015). The enduring effects of early-childhood adversities and troubled sleep among Canadian adults: A population-based study. Sleep Medicine, 16(6), 760767.
Berkman, L., Glass, T., Brissette, I., & Seeman, T. (2000). From social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium. Social Science and Medicine, 51(6), 843857.
Bierman, A. (2014). Reconsidering the relationship between age and financial strain among older adults. Society and Mental Health, 4, 197214.
Birath, J. B., & Martin, J. (2007). Common sleep problems affecting older adults. Annals of Long-Term Care, 15(12), 2026.
Bolger, N., DeLongis, A., Kessler, R., & Wethington, E. (1989). The contagion of stress across multiple roles. Journal of Marriage and Family, 51(1), 175183.
Brannon, L. (2010). Gender stereotypes: Masculinity and femininity. Gender: Psychological Perspectives (6th ed., pp. 159185) Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon/Pearson.
Burgard, S., & Ailshire, J. (2009). Putting work to bed: Stressful experiences on the job and sleep quality. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 50(4), 476492.
Carpenter, K., Fowler, J., Maxwell, G., & Andersen, B. (2010). Direct and buffering effects of social support among gynecologic cancer survivors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 7990.
Christie, A. M., & Barling, J. (2009). Disentangling the indirect links between SES and health: The dynamic roles of work stressors and personal control. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(6), 14661478.
Davis, M., Burleson, M., & Kruszewski, D. (2011). Gender: Its relationship to stressor exposure, cognitive appraisal/coping processes, stress responses, and health outcomes. In Contrada, R. J. & Baum, A. (Eds.), The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 274–261). New York, NY: Springer.
Greenhaus, J., & Beutell, N. (1985). Sources of conflict between work and family roles. The Academy of Management Review, 10(1), 7688.
Grzywacz, J. G., & Almeida, D. M. (2008). Stress and binge drinking: A daily process examination of stressor pile-up and socioeconomic status in affect regulation. International Journal of Stress Management, 15, 364380.
Guy, M., & Fenley, V. (2014). Inch by inch: Gender equity since the civil rights act of 1964. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 34(1), 4058.
Hall, M., Buysse, D., Nowell, P., Nofzinger, E., Houck, P., Reynolds, C., & Kupfer, D. (2000). Symptoms of stress and depression as correlates of sleep in primary insomnia. Psychosomatic Medicine, 62(2), 227230.
Harvey, A., Tang, N., & Browning, L. (2005). Cognitive approaches to insomnia. Clinical Psychology Review, 25(5), 593611.
Henry, D., McClellen, D., Rosenthal, L., Dedrick, D., & Gosdin, M. (2008). Is sleep really for sissies? Understanding the role of work in insomnia in the US. Social Science and Medicine, 66(3), 715726.
Hicken, M. T., Lee, H., Ailshire, J., Burgard, S. A., & Williams, D. R. (2013). “Every shut eye, ain’t sleep”: The role of racism-related vigilance in racial/ethnic disparities in sleep difficulty. Race and Social Problems, 5(2), 100112.
Hon, C.-Y., & Nicol, A.-M. (2010). Examining the association between insomnia and bowel disorders in Canada: Is there a trend? University of British Columbia Medical Journal, 2(1), 1115.
House, J., Umberson, D., & Landis, K. (1988). Structures and processes of social support. Annual Review of Sociology, 14(1), 293318.
Jarrin, D. C., McGrath, J. J., Silverstein, J. E., & Drake, C. (2013). Objective and subjective socioeconomic gradients exist for sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, weekend oversleep, and daytime sleepiness in adults. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 11, 144158.
Kaufmann, C. N., Mojtabai, R., Hock, R. S., Thorpe, R. J. Jr., Canham, S. L., Chen, L. Y., ... Spira, A. P. (2016). Racial/ethnic differences in insomnia trajectories among U.S. older adults. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24(7), 575584.
Kessler, R., & McLeod, J. (1984). Sex differences in vulnerability to undesirable life events. American Sociological Review, 49(5), 620631.
Kupperman, M., Lubeck, D., Mazonson, P. D., Patrick, D. L., Stewart, A. L., Buesching, D. P., & Fifer, S. K. (1995). Sleep problems and their correlates in a working population. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 10(1), 2532.
Luyster, F., Strollo, P., Zee, P., & Walsh, J. (2012). Sleep: A health imperative. Sleep, 35(6), 727734.
McCrae, C. S., McNamara, J. P. H., Rowe, M. A., Dzierzewski, J. M., Dirk, J., Marsiske, M., & Craggs, J. C. (2008). Sleep and affect in older adults: Using multilevel modeling to examine daily associations. Journal of Sleep Research, 17(1), 4253.
Mirowsky, J., & Ross, C. E. (2008). Education and self-rated health: Cumulative advantage and its rising importance. Research on Aging, 30, 93122.
Moore, P. J., Adler, N. E., Williams, D. R., & Jackson, J. S. (2002). Socioeconomic status and health: The role of sleep. Psychosomatic Medicine, 64(2), 337344.
Murata, C., Yatsuya, H., Tamakoshi, K., Otsuka, R., Wada, K., & Toyoshima, H. (2007). Psychological factors and insomnia among male civil servants in Japan. Sleep Medicine, 8, 209214.
Nakata, A., Haratani, T., Takahashi, M., Kawakami, N., Arito, H., Kobayashi, F., & Araki, S. (2004). Job stress, social support, and prevalence of insomnia in a population of Japanese daytime workers. Social Science & Medicine, 59, 17191730.
Nezlek, J. B., & Allen, M. R. (2006). Social support as a moderator of day-to-day relationships between daily negative events and daily psychological well-being. European Journal of Personality, 20, 5368.
Ng, D. M., & Jeffery, R. W. (2003). Relationships between perceived stress and health behaviors in a sample of working adults. Health Psychology, 22, 638642.
Pearlin, L. (1999). The stress process revisited: Reflections on concepts and their interrelationships. In Aneshensel, C. & Phelan, J. (Eds.), Handbook of the Sociology of Mental Health (pp. 395415). New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.
Pearlin, L., & Bierman, A. (2013). Current issues and future directions in research into the stress process. In Aneshensel, C., Phelan, J., & Bierman, A. (Eds.), Handbook of the Sociology of Mental Health (2nd ed., pp. 325340). Dordrecht, NLD: Springer Science+Business Media.
Pettit, J. W., Roberts, R. E., Lewinsohn, P. M., Seeley, J. R., & Yaroslavsky, I. (2011). Developmental relations between perceived social support and depressive symptoms through emerging adulthood: Blood is thicker than water. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(1), 127136.
Procidano, M., Nausheen, B., & Gupta, A. (2008). Links between social support and health: Toward a cross-cultural perspective. In Buchwald, P., Ringeisen, T., and Eysenck, M. (Eds.) Stress and Anxiety: Application to Life Span Development and Health Promotion (pp. 5670). Berlin, DEU: Logos.
Rosenfield, S., & Mouzon, D. (2013). Gender and mental health. In Aneshensel, C., Phelan, J., & Bierman, A. (Eds.), Handbook of the Sociology of Mental Health (2nd ed., pp. 277296). Dordrecht, NLD: Springer Science+Business Media.
Ross, C., & van Willigen, M. (1997). Education and the subjective quality of life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 38(3), 275297.
Rote, S., Hill, T., & Ellison, C. (2012). Religious attendance and loneliness in later life. The Gerontologist, 53(1), 3950.
Russell, A., Bergeman, C., & Scott, S. (2012). Daily social exchanges and affect in middle and later adulthood: The impact of loneliness and age. International Journal Aging and Human Development, 74(4), 299329.
Shivpuri, S., Gallo, L., Crouse, J., & Allison, M. (2012). The association between chronic stress type and C-reactive protein in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis: Does gender make a difference? Journal of Behavior Medicine, 35(1), 7485.
Shor, E., Roelfs, D. J., & Yogev, T. (2013). The strength of family ties: A meta-analysis and meta-regression of self-reported social support and mortality. Social Networks, 35, 626638.
Stryker, S., & Vryan, K. D. (2006). The symbolic interactionist frame. In DeLamater, J. & Ward, A. (Eds.), Handbook of Social Psychology (2nd ed., pp. 328). New York, NY: Springer.
Sutton, D., Moldofsky, H., & Badley, E. (2001). Insomnia and health problems in Canadians. Sleep, 24(6), 665670.
Takizawa, T., Kondo, T., Sakihara, S., Ariisumi, M., Watanabe, N., & Oyama, H. (2006). Stress buffering effects of social support on depressive symptoms in middle age: Reciprocity and community mental health. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 60(6), 652661.
Thoits, P. (2011). Mechanisms linking social ties and support to physical and mental health. Health and Social Behaviour, 52(2), 145161.
Turner, J. B., & Turner, R. J. (2013). Social relations, social integration, and social support. In Aneshensel, C., Phelan, J., & Bierman, A. (Eds.), Handbook of the Sociology of Mental Health (2nd ed., pp. 341356). Dordrecht, NLD: Springer Science+Business Media.
Umberson, D., Crosnoe, R., & Reczek, C. (2010). Social relationships and health behaviors across the life course. Annual Review of Sociology, 36(1), 139157.
Walters, V., Lenton, R., French, S., Eyles, J., Mayr, J., & Newbold, B. (1996). Paid work, unpaid work and social support: A study of the health of male and female nurses. Social Science and Medicine, 43(11), 16271636.
Wethington, E. (2000). Contagion of stress. In Thye, S. & Lawler, E. (Eds.), Advances in group processes (Vol. 17, pp. 229253). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Wheaton, B. (1985). Models for the stress-buffering functions of coping resources. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 26(4), 352364.
Wiley, M. (1991). Gender, work, and stress: The potential impact of role-identity salience and commitment. The Sociological Quarterly, 32(4), 495510.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed