General points

According to the model of Siegrist, effort-reward imbalance reflects the ratio between the effort put by employees into their work and the reward they receive for the work done (Lau, 2008). Both represent two sides of a social contract that states that the value of the reward should be similar to that of the effort. Poorer effort-reward ratio occurs when effort exceeds reward and is associated with health issues, psychiatric disorders, alcohol abuse, etc. (Lau, 2008; Steptoe, Siegrist, Kirschbaum, & Marmot, 2004). Another component of the model is overcommitment which is described as improper coping with demands characterized by excessive and exhaustive commitment to work (Lau, 2008; Steptoe et al., 2004). Overcommitment is experienced as being overwhelmed by pressure at work and unable to relax and disengage from work during non working hours (Tei-Tominaga, Akiyama, Miyake, & Sakai, 2009). Overcommitment is also hypothesized to be related to adverse health effects. It is also expected that overcommitment might moderate the effects of effort-reward imbalance on health and wellbeing (Lau, 2008). Salivary cortisol is a measure of a physiological stress response. Higher levels of cortisol are associated with higher levels of stress and with poorer wellbeing (Steptoe et al., 2004). Steptoe, Siegrist, Kirschbaum, and Marmot (2004) found gender differences between overcommitted men and women on cortisol levels by waking-up and over the working day. In their study, overcommitted men had higher levels of waking cortisol and higher average levels of cortisol during the day compared to overcommitted women. Cortisol levels of overcommitted men increased in 30 minutes after waking-up compared to non overcommitted men. Lau (2008) found that high-skilled workers showed higher levels of overcommitment than low-skilled workers. He reported association between overcommitment and health-related variables and between effort-reward ratio and health-related variables. The strongest associations were found with burnout and psychological distress indicating that higher levels of effort-reward imbalance as well as higher levels of overcommitment are associated with higher levels of burnout and experienced distress. In a study of relationships between temperament types and efforts, rewards and overcommitment, Tei-Tominanga, Akiyama, Miyake, and Sakai (2009) found that some temperaments were predictors of experienced overcommitment. Depressive and anxious temperaments were predictors of perceived effort and of overall rewards while depressive, anxious and hyperthymic temperaments were predictors of over- 12 Introduction to survey of Swedish lawyers – 2017 commitment. Taking into account that ‘temperaments underlie the major dimensions of personality’ (Tei-Tominaga et al., 2009, p. 510) results indicating that specific temperament types are associated with overcommitment are very important on the part of applying successful strategies for stress management.