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  • The initial submission of this article was received on October 1st, 2021 and was peer-reviewed by 2 reviewers and the Academic Editor.
  • The Academic Editor made their initial decision on December 22nd, 2021.
  • The first revision was submitted on January 26th, 2022 and was reviewed by the Academic Editor.
  • The article was Accepted by the Academic Editor on February 11th, 2022.

Version 0.2 (accepted)

· Feb 11, 2022 · Academic Editor


The authors have done a good job reviewing their manuscript. I congratulate them on their study.

[# PeerJ Staff Note - this decision was reviewed and approved by Jafri Abdullah, a PeerJ Section Editor covering this Section #]

Version 0.1 (original submission)

· Dec 22, 2021 · Academic Editor

Major Revisions

After review of the manuscript by the external reviewers and myself, we believe that there are areas for improvement in the manuscript. The authors should respond and carefully address the comments made by the reviewers. In particular, the authors should address those requests that refer to the intrinsic limitations of their experimental model.

[# PeerJ Staff Note: Please ensure that all review and editorial comments are addressed in a response letter and any edits or clarifications mentioned in the letter are also inserted into the revised manuscript where appropriate. #]

Reviewer 1 ·

Basic reporting

The proposed manuscript investigates the association between occupational stress (measured by Siegrist questionnaire –ERI-) and some scales of fatigue or perceived health (such as CIS and GHQ). Authors also developed a “work intensification scale” to asses perceived changes in workload during the covid pandemic.
The topics is of interest because pandemic related events surely increased stress in several work conditions including transports but occupational medicine papers usually focused mainly on health workers. Instead, indirect effect on work condition related to pandemic restrictions and a general feeling of insecurity, could sensibly increase perceived stress even in workers not related to health sector.

Experimental design

The main weakness in this study is the cross sectional design (stress and effect measured only once and in the same moment). Thus we cannot infer direct causation as authors tends to do in several aspects: for example in abstract objective “This study investigated the joint effect of the Effort/Reward Imbalance (ERI) model of stress and work intensification …. on the psychological health” and in abstract results “… it was found that both (ERI and work intensification) models significantly predict driver’s fatigue and psychological strain”.
In my view, authors should keep in mind that they were able to find an association, but they cannot prove that ERI predict GHQ, because both variables have been measured in the same moment of time.
Moreover reverse causation in questionnaire about perceived wellbeing must always be considered. For example “need for recovery” could increase “effort” in the stress scale.
Second main limitation: authors did not provide the participation rate ( or the total number of eligible workers) thus we cannot understand if the study sample is really representative of the real working group, or if is for some reason self- selected etcetera)
Third - the main results are reported in table 3 and are performed by linear regression models. Please provide details about how authors defined general fatigue is a score of a given scale, treated as a continuous variable!), need for recovery and psychological strain. Moreover please report punctual p values instead of “*<0.05” etcetera. Related to this, I would suggest to perform analysis also in term of odds ratios (logistic regression) considering as outcome variables to score above a given cut-off in the investigated scales (general fatigue-need for recovery and psych. strain). This could suggest the risk to score above the relevant cut of for any given increase in risk factors. Because reverse causation I also would suggest to include ERI as dependent variable in a logistic regression model (the risk to score above 1 at the ERI scale)

Validity of the findings

no further comments (see experimental design comments)

Additional comments

Within the abstract and in various paragraphs, the paper tends to be too much colloquial (i.e. – in pratical terms-…. in other words…. bearing in mind the previous evidences appended in the introduction…..) and authors insert comments in some part of the results (i.e. “Results: As initially hypothesized…”) . Please correct and leave comments only in discussion and conclusion. In general terms I think that English could be improved by a native English collaborator or reviewer.

Reviewer 2 ·

Basic reporting

The authors investigated the impact of pandemic in terms of work intensification and effort-reward imbalance on the psychological health of professional drivers, a category particularly affected by this emergency.
The article is well structured and clear on the whole, but could benefit from some revisions.

Experimental design

The authors stress the importance of analysing the joint effect of effort/reward imbalance and work intensification among professional drivers, but the knot of a cross-sectional study and the absence of clear and explicit research hypotheses, briefly mentioned, remains. Listing the individual research hypotheses would help to better understand the contribution of the study and the potential impacts on the type of interventions to be suggested for the category under consideration.

Were inclusion criteria adopted for participation in the study? Were specific exclusion criteria adopted for the data collected? Please elaborate.

The section on statistical analyses and the procedures adopted could be described in more detail, specifying why certain analyses were adopted and not others, what they are used for and what requirements should be met when performing specific analyses.

In Table 3 it would be useful to present all the results of the hierarchical linear regression, including the adjusted R square.

From the results it would seem useful to discussion implications also in terms of significant (and not) control variables at step 1.

Validity of the findings

It would perhaps be useful to show the items used for the ERI-short scale, the 3 for effort and the 7 for reward and elaborate more on the content of these items in the discussion.

The work intensification scale was developed by the authors for the first time, taking inspiration from the work of Kubicek, Paškvan & Korunka (2015). First of all, it would be useful to compare the two scales, making it clear how the authors have adjusted the items for the purpose of the study.
Is there a reason why an EFA/CFA has not been done?
After that, it would be useful to describe in more depth the validity and reliability analyses adopted, specifying what was done, why those types of analyses were adopted and not others and the threshold values for which it is good to consider a scale developed ad hoc as acceptable or not. Possibly linking to previous literature.

Talking about introducing changes at an organisational level often requires time and resources, aspects not always available in the face of emergencies. The authors talk about adopting solutions at individual level in combination with organisational interventions whereby working conditions are changed. It would be interesting to elaborate further on this point, reflecting on potential facilitating and hindering factors. At the moment, solutions seem to be suggested in a very concise and vague way.

In a longitudinal perspective, the present study could also benefit from data on the number of accidents or near-misses reported, so that the type of theoretical approach adopted could be given greater support.

Minor typos: Line 249 Table 1 should be changed to table 2.

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