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Psychosocial Work Conditions and Aspects of Health
Linköping University, HELIX Vinn Excellence Centre. Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today’s working life has led to new requirements and conditions at the workplace, and additional factors may be of importance for employees’ health. Most earlier research has taken place in stable organizations, and has not taken changes in organizations into account. The way in which psychosocial work conditions affect employees’ health and well-being has been the topic of several studies but mental ill health is still one of the most common causes of sick leave in Sweden. Little attention is given to the importance of the workplace and organizational context for employees’ health. The overall aim of this thesis is to investigate how different aspects of health are associated with psychosocial work conditions in today’s working life.

This thesis comprises two empirical studies. The first study is a longitudinal study, based on questionnaire data from 1010 employees at the Swedish Labour Market Administration. The second study is designed as a prospective cohort study, based on questionnaire data from 8430 employees in ten organizations, participating in the LOHP project. Linear and logistic regressions were performed to investigate associations between psychosocial work conditions and different aspects of health. Multilevel analysis was performed in one paper.

The main findings in Paper I are that traditional job stress models are better for predicting ill health than good health. Different psychosocial work conditions may however, be useful for measuring different aspects of health, depending on whether the purpose is to prevent ill health or to promote health. In Paper II, psychosocial work conditions and symptoms of burnout were found to differ between different hierarchical levels, and different psychosocial work conditions were associated with symptoms of burnout at different hieratical levels. Paper III showed that psychosocial work conditions predict voluntary job mobility, and this may be due to two forces for job mobility: job dissatisfaction and career development. In Paper IV, a strong association between high work ability and better performance was found. Clear goals and expectations may result in improved psychosocial work conditions and work ability, which in turn affects employees’ performance.

This thesis has provided knowledge regarding different aspects of health and psychosocial work conditions. Conditions at the organizational and workplace level set the prerequisites for if and how employees use their resources and their ability to act. Access to resources and the capacity to use them may vary depending on the employees’ hierarchal position. Occupational health research needs to focus on differences in psychosocial work conditions at different hierarchical levels. Organizations with clear goals and expectations may create more favourable conditions at work, supporting employees’ room for manoeuver, social capital and their ability to cope with working life, hence promoting health. Health promotion has a holistic approach and considers the work environment, the individual and the interplay between them. However, most health interventions at workplaces are directed to employees’ health behaviour rather than improvements in organizational and work conditions. To develop a good work environment it is necessary to identify conditions at work that promote different aspects of health. These conditions need to be tackled at the organizational, workplace and individual level, as good health is shaped by the interplay between the employee and the conditions for work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. , 52 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1366
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-95578ISBN: 978-91-7519-599-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-95578DiVA: diva2:636209
Public defence
2013-08-30, Aulan, Hälsans Hus, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-07-09 Created: 2013-07-09 Last updated: 2013-09-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Evaluation of job stress models for predicting health at work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation of job stress models for predicting health at work
2011 (English)In: WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, ISSN 1051-9815, Vol. 40, no 2, 229-237 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: Few workplace health promotion (WHP) interventions are designed to improve work conditions. Methods for measurement of work conditions are often developed from a risk factor perspective rather than a WHP perspective. More knowledge is needed on the work conditions that promote health in order to develop a good work environment. The purpose of the present study was to investigate if the Demand Control Support model, the Effort Reward Imbalance model and the Job Characteristic Inventory are correlated, if the subscales predict health and to analyze which combination of subscales is the most useful predictor of health longitudinally. <br> <br>Participants: The study used questionnaire data from 662 civil servants at baseline and at follow-up 2 years later. <br> <br>Method: The data were analysed by multiple regressions. <br> <br>Results: A new model; effort, reward, and variety, was found having a higher predictive power to predict health than the original models. <br> <br>Conclusions: To promote health at work, social relations and health-mediating work conditions are important because these conditions may buffer health. Health can be assumed to be a resource that is created in everyday activities and interactions in workplaces, and there is a need to develop health measure instruments based on holistic health theories.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IOS Press, 2011
Keyword
Work conditions, job stress models, health, workplace health promotion
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-57254 (URN)10.3233/WOR-2011-1223 (DOI)000294446900012 ()
Available from: 2010-06-15 Created: 2010-06-15 Last updated: 2013-09-03
2. Investigating Work Conditions and Burnout at Three Hierarchical Levels
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Investigating Work Conditions and Burnout at Three Hierarchical Levels
2013 (English)In: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, ISSN 1076-2752, E-ISSN 1536-5948, Vol. 55, no 10, 1157-1163 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To investigate the differences in work conditions and symptoms of burnout, and the association between work conditions and symptoms of burnout at the three hierarchical levels: subordinates, first-line managers and middle managers.

Methods: Analyses were based on questionnaire data from 4096 employees in nine organizations, containing three hierarchical levels: subordinates (n=3659), first-line managers (n=345), and middle managers (n=92).

Results: Work conditions were found to differ between the three hierarchical levels, mostly between subordinates and managers. Managers experienced fewer symptoms of burnout than subordinates. Furthermore, the association between work conditions and burnout differed for subordinates, first-line managers and middle managers.

Conclusions: Occupational health research needs to focus more on differences between hierarchical levels regarding work conditions and burnout.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wolters Kluwer, 2013
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-95575 (URN)10.1097/JOM.0b013e31829b27df (DOI)000330448800005 ()
Note

On the day of the defence date the status of this article was Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-07-09 Created: 2013-07-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. The importance of work conditions and health for voluntary job mobility: a two-year follow-up
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The importance of work conditions and health for voluntary job mobility: a two-year follow-up
2012 (English)In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 12, no 682Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Changing jobs is part of modern working life. Within occupational health, job mobility   has mainly been studied in terms of employees' intentions to leave their jobs. In contrast to actual turnover, turnover intentions are not definite and only reflect the probability that an individual will change job. The aim of this study was to determine what work conditions predict voluntary job mobility and to examine if good health or burnout predicts voluntary job mobility.

Methods

The study was based on questionnaire data from 792 civil servants. The data were analysed   using logistic regressions.

Results

Low variety and high autonomy were associated with increased voluntary job mobility.   However, the associations between health and voluntary job mobility did not reach   significance. Possible explanations for the null results may be that the population   was homogeneous, and that the instruments for measuring global health are too coarse   for a healthy, working population.

Conclusions

Voluntary job mobility may be predicted by high autonomy and low variety. The former may reflect that individuals with high autonomy have stronger career development motives; the latter may reflect the fact that low variety leads to job dissatisfaction. In contrast to our results on job content, global health measurements are not strong   predictors of voluntary job mobility. This may be because good health affects job mobility through several offsetting channels, involving the resources and ability to seek a new job. Future work should use more detailed measurements of health or   examine other work settings so that we may learn more about which of the offsetting effects of health dominate in different contexts.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73497 (URN)10.1186/1471-2458-12-682 (DOI)000311956700001 ()
Available from: 2012-01-05 Created: 2012-01-05 Last updated: 2017-12-08
4. Work ability and performance: associations with clarity of work and work conditions: A multilevel study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Work ability and performance: associations with clarity of work and work conditions: A multilevel study
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today’s flexible working life has resulted in loose structures, less predictability and increased uncertainty for employees. Uncertainty regarding what work tasks to carry out may result in low job satisfaction and high tension, but also in reduced performance and effectiveness. Conversely, organizations with clear goals and strategies provide better opportunities for employees to understand what is expected and how to perform the work. This paper explores associations with clarity of work, work conditions and work ability, and secondly if work ability affects performance, given the organizational and work conditions. The study was based on questionnaire data from 4442 subordinates in 10 organizations in different sectors. The data were analysed by multilevel logistic regressions. High clarity of work, high control and high social capital were associated with higher work ability and better performance. High demands were associated with lower work ability and lower performance. High work ability was associated with better performance. The results imply that good work ability is an important factor for employees’ performance, affected by socio-demographic factors, but mostly with organizational and work conditions. Organizations with clear goals creates more favorable work conditions that support employees’ control, their ability to cope with working life and their performance.

Keyword
Work ability, performance, clarity of work, work conditions, multilevel
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-95577 (URN)
Available from: 2013-07-09 Created: 2013-07-09 Last updated: 2013-09-03Bibliographically approved

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