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Combined and selective effects of environmental and psychosocial workplace hazards: associations with health and well-being in public sector employees

McNamara, Rachel 2008. Combined and selective effects of environmental and psychosocial workplace hazards: associations with health and well-being in public sector employees. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

Associations between occupational stressors and poor health are well-documented. However, research to date has focused on individual stressors or single job stress models and associations with a limited set of health outcomes. The main aims of this thesis were to investigate combined and selective associations between varied sources of occupational stressors (environmental and psychosocial) and a range of health outcomes in public sector employees. Data were obtained from two cross-sectional surveys of public sector employees (n=1090 and 870). Key sources of potential stress examined were: demands, control, support, efforts, rewards, unfavourable working patterns (long hours, shift work), physical hazards (noise, harmful substances), organisational culture, role stressors (conflict, ambiguity), interpersonal relationships (Leader-Member and Team-Member Exchange) and workplace bullying. Key health outcomes comprised work-related stress, clinical anxiety and depression, lifetime, 12-month and acute symptom prevalence and use of prescribed medication within the last 12 months and 14 days. Analyses were carried out using logistic regression. Results indicate that stressors explain more variance in health outcomes when studied in combination. Cumulative exposure to stressors was measured by a composite additive score derived from traditional job stress models (Demand-Control-Support, Effort-Reward Imbalance) and items assessing working hours/physical hazards, and was associated with an increased likelihood of reporting the majority of key health outcomes. The addition of novel stressors to the composite score (e.g. role, interpersonal relationships, culture) did not explain additional variance with the exception of workplace bullying. For some outcomes (work-related stress) associations with stressors were linear for others (clinical depression), only very high levels of exposure were associated with a negative outcome (i.e. a 'threshold' effect). These different patterns of effect are suggestive of selective, as well as cumulative relationships: certain health outcomes are associated with particular risk factors. Limitations, directions for future research and stress management and policy implications are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
ISBN: 9781303196645
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:53
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54476

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