PURPOSE: To explore the gender-specific longitudinal association between psychological empowerment at the workplace and self-rated health and burnout in a working population.
MATERIAL AND METHOD: The participants were employees working in the public service sector in central Sweden. The baseline survey was carried out in 2001 and the follow-up in 2003. The questionnaire was answered by 715 respondents at both points in time (overall response rate 67%). Measures used were Psychological Empowerment Instrument by Spreitzer, the SF-36, the EQ-5D, and the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory. Gender specific differences in average score for self-rated health and burnout at follow-up were assessed using multiple linear regression adjusted for age, education, study cohort and self-rated health and burnout at baseline. An analysis on interactional effects due to gender was also performed.
RESULTS: For women, increasing levels of psychological empowerment at work at baseline are associated with less bodily pain, better physical role function and mental health in the multivariate analysis at follow-up two years later. For men, increased psychological empowerment at baseline is significantly associated with better self-rated health as measured by the EQ-5D VAS at follow-up in the multivariatc analysis. Higher levels of psychological empowerment at baseline show a statistically significant association with a lower degree of burnout at follow-up in the univariate analysis for men and women. However, the associations diminished after adjustments in the multivariate analyses. No significant gender x empowerment interaction appeared.
CONCLUSION: Psychological empowerment in working life was associated with somatic and mental aspects of SRH two years later for women. Men seem to be less affected by psychological empowerment, yet an association with the EQ-5D V AS appeared. Psychological empowerment did not predict burnout two years later for either men or women.