With the unemployment rate at 10 percent and burgeoning job stress, the study of occupational health psychology has never been more timely, says Joseph J. Hurrell Jr., PhD, incoming editor of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.
“The economic crisis — as unfortunate as it is — presents an enormous opportunity to examine the factors that drive poor health outcomes in workers, as well as those that promote their health and safety,” he says.
Hurrell — a former researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health who is now on the faculty of St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia — is eager to receive submissions on the crisis, but he also welcomes work from researchers and practitioners on all aspects of occupational health psychology. “There is an enormous number of new people entering the field and a wide array of relevant topics, and I’d like to capture the breadth of that,” he says.
He’s especially excited about a growing international interest in occupational health psychology and about collaborations among researchers from various countries. He hopes JOHP will be the flagship journal for much of this work.
Hurrell also plans to include more entries from related disciplines, such as epidemiology and occupational medicine, as well as from psychologists who contribute in these areas but who have never submitted to the journal.
“There are disciplines that have been looking at some of these issues for a much longer time than we have,” he says. “I want to capture their expertise both for the benefit of psychology and for the larger field of occupational health and safety.”
Hurrell is encouraging more reports on evidence-based interventions aimed at improving mental, physical and organizational health, a traditional gap in the literature. He is especially interested in initiatives that include companies’ bottom lines in their assessment of how to improve conditions for workers, since that is a language companies understand, he says.
Because all psychologists — not just occupational health psychologists — can make a positive difference for today’s increasingly burdened workers, Hurrell hopes JOHP will attract psychologists more broadly, he adds.
“The global recession has put the very conditions of employment in a state of flux not seen before in our lifetimes,” he says. “Our field has a unique opportunity to understand the effects of these changes on health, safety and the human condition.”
To submit manuscripts to JOHP, visit the Society for Occupational Health Psychology’s Web site.
Tori DeAngelis is a writer in Syracuse, N.Y.