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Psychological empowerment, social support at the workplace and self-rated health and burnout: a 2-year longitudinal analysis in a sample of Swedish employees
Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society, National Centre for Work and Rehabilitation. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society, National Centre for Work and Rehabilitation. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society, National Centre for Work and Rehabilitation. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society, National Centre for Work and Rehabilitation. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8031-7651
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE: To explore the gender-specific longitudinal association between a combination of psychological empowerment and social support 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 in two cohorts 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 the Psychological Empowerment Instrument by Spreitzer, the social support dimension in the Demand-Control-Support Questionnaire, the SF-36, the EQ-5D, and the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory. Based on empirical medians, psychological empowerment and social support at baseline were combined into four categories. Mlltivariate comparisons adjusted for age, education, study cohort and SRH and burnout at baseline were performed using multiple linear regression analysis. The genderxempowerment and social support interaction effect was assessed in the multiple linear regression analysis. All analyses were performed for men and women separately.

RESULTS: For women, a combination of high psychological empowerment and high social support at the workplace, in comparison with a combination of low psychological empowerment and low social support, is strongly associated with better SRH (bodily pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, emotional role, mental health, the EQ-5D VAS, and EQ-5D index) and lower levels of work-related burnout at the 2-year follow-up after adjusting for demographics and baseline SRH and burnout. For men, there are univariate associations with burnout and some associations with SRH. After adjustments for demographics and baseline SRH and burnout, psychological empowerment and social support is associated with SRH as measured by the EQ-5D VAS for men. The gender x empowerment and social support interaction analyses confirm gender differences regarding bodily pain, social function, and work-related burnout.

CONCLUSION: A combination of psychological empowerment and social support in working life strongly affects SRH and work-related burnout two years later for women, but only in part for men.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-84817OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-84817DiVA: diva2:562111
Available from: 2012-10-23 Created: 2012-10-23 Last updated: 2013-09-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Empowerment and health promotion in working life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Empowerment and health promotion in working life
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: In ‘workplace health promotion’, empowerment is assumed to promote health. Nevertheless, few studies have examined the relationship between empowerment in working life, and health.

Aim: To study the impact of empowerment in working life on health, with special focus on gender differences.

Material and methods: Paper I is a review of the scientific literature, examining instruments intended to measure empowerment in working life. The second study (paper II) was a cross-sectional survey, assessing the relationship between psychological empowerment, and self-rated health and burnout among employees. Papers III and IV encompass a two-year longitudinal survey study of the gender-specific relationships between baseline levels of psychological empowerment, and the combination of psychological support and social support, and self-rated health and burnout two years later among employees. Study five (paper V) is a qualitative study, using focus-group interviews and phenomenography to evaluate a theory-based intervention method, problem-based learning, for workplace health promotion with regard to possible facilitation of empowerment processes.

Results: In paper I, nine questionnaires were found and analysed. Most of the questionnaires focused on intra-individual issues, while a smaller number dealt with the interaction between individual and organisation. Control and competence were frequently used dimensions. The Psychological Empowerment Instrument had undergone the most comprehensive investigation, showing satisfactory validity and reliability. In paper II, men reported a greater degree of psychological empowerment than women in terms of self-determination and impact. Associations were found between psychological empowerment, and self-rated health and burnout (p<0.05). Men and women with higher levels of empowerment reported significantly better health, compared with those who had lower levels of empowerment. Papers III and IV show that for women, increasing levels of psychological empowerment at work at baseline were associated with better self-rated health as measured by the SF-36 scales physical role function, bodily pain, and mental health at the 2-year follow-up (p<0.05). Also for women, a combination of high psychological empowerment and high social support at the workplace was associated (p<0.05) with better self-rated health (bodily pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, emotional role, mental health, EQ-5D VAS, and EQ-5D index) and lower levels of work-related burnout at the 2-year follow-up. For men, psychological empowerment at baseline, and a combination of psychological empowerment and social support at the workplace, were associated with self-rated health at follow-up as measured by the EQ-5D VAS (p<0.05). Combinations of psychological empowerment and social support were associated with work-related burnout at the two-year follow-up for women only (p=0.002). The differences between men and women were confirmed in the gender×empowerment and social support interaction analysis for the measures bodily pain, social function, and work-related burnout (p<0.05). The phenomenographic analysis in paper V resulted in six descriptive categories: reflection, awareness and insight, self-direction and self-management, group coherence, social support and action. The results correspond to established theories on components of empowerment processes. The method “problem-based learning” initiated processes of change at organisational, workplace and individual levels. Social support and group coherence were expressed as essential in order to transform challenging strategies into action and goal realisation.

Conclusions: This thesis demonstrates that psychological empowerment is associated with self-rated health and burnout. Psychological empowerment also impacts mental and somatic health after two years. The impact on health becomes more extensive when psychological empowerment is combined with social support at the workplace. Empowerment and social support are crucial core characteristics in ‘workplace health promotion’, but effects may differ for men and women. Empowerment processes can be facilitated by implementation of the participative intervention method known as “problem-based learning”. Practitioners and researchers who are active in health enhancement in working life should gain from implementing these findings, whether the focus is on health promotion, disease prevention, or rehabilitation back to work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Institutionen för hälsa och samhälle, 2006. 90 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 934
Keyword
Health promotion, Workplace, Social support, self-rated health, burnout
National Category
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7436 (URN)91-85497-69-X (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-02-10, Aulan, Hälsans hus, Campus US, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Available from: 2006-09-27 Created: 2006-09-27 Last updated: 2012-10-23Bibliographically approved

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Arneson, HannaLiljegren, MatsNordlund, AndersEkberg, Kerstin

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