OBJECTIVES: Information about lifestyle factors in register-based occupational health studies is often not available. The objective of this study was therefore to develop gender, age and calendar-time specific job-exposure matrices (JEMs) addressing five selected lifestyle characteristics across job groups as a tool for lifestyle adjustment in register-based studies.
METHODS: We combined and harmonised questionnaire and interview data on lifestyle from several Danish surveys in the time period 1981-2013 for 264 054 employees registered with a DISCO-88 code (the Danish version of International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO)-88) in a nationwide register-based Danish Occupational Cohort. We modelled the probability of specified lifestyles in mixed models for each level of the four-digit DISCO code with age and sex as fixed effects and assessed variation in terms of intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and exposure-level percentile ratios across jobs for six different time periods from 1981 through 2013.
RESULTS: The ICCs were overall low (0.26%-7.05%) as the within-job group variation was large relative to the between job group variation, but across jobs the calendar period-specific ratios between highest and lowest predicted levels were ranging from 1.2 to 6.9, and for the 95%/1% and the 75%/5% percentile ratios ranges were 1.1-2.8 and 1.1-1.6, respectively, thus indicating substantial contrast for some lifestyle exposures and some occupations.
CONCLUSIONS: The lifestyle JEMs may prove a useful tool for control of lifestyle-related confounding in register-based occupational health studies where lacking information on individual lifestyle factors may compromise internal validity.