Saturday, March 13, 1999
8:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Combining Employment and Caregiving to Dependent Adults: An Intricate Juggling Act
Nancy Guberman, M.S.W, Pierre Maheu, M.S.W, University of Quebec in Montreal
Most research to date on family caregiving and employment has revealed the bi-directional interaction between the two spheres by looking at the outcomes in each sphere for employed caregivers - reduced availability for care and/or reduced availability and productivity in the workplace. However, little is known about the processes which lead to these outcomes. How do caregivers decide to reduce or modify the nature of their involvement in caregiving because of work demands? When and why do they choose to modify labour market participation? What are the factors, the conditions and the context leading to these decisions?
This poster will address some of these questions The aim of the study on which the poster is based was to understand how employed caregivers manage to reconcile the various demands put on them. It is based on semi-directive in-depth interviews with a convenience sample of 25 francophone caregivers employed in several work places in Montreal. Data analysis was based on classical content analysis and some elements of grounded theory and led to the conceptual categorization of the accommodations caregivers put into place in the spheres of caregiving, employment, family, personal and social life, as well as the different factors which impacted on the choice of accommodations. In the process, the idea of juggling work emerged as a central conceptual category.
Our analysis leads us to conceptualize negative impacts on caregivers' employment as the end result of a complex process of juggling which takes into account the demands of the different life spheres, the situation and personalities of the people involved, as well as the caregivers' own conditions and values. Absenteeism or long-term leaves are thus as much the expression of the impossibility of maintaining stability in an unstable situation, of trying to reconcile the irreconcilable, as they are an impact of caregiving demands, per se. An understanding of the relation between caregiving and employment must take into account the specific properties of the context of family caregiving and the interaction between caregiving and the daily activities of the caregiver, as the accomodations which caregivers are able to access are determined by these and other factors which mediate their attempts to maintain a balance.The poster will present an exploratory model of the juggling process and the factors which come into play and influence it.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Nancy Guberman, Department of Social Work, University of Quebec in Montreal, C.P.8888, Succ. Centreville, Montreal, H3C 3P8, Quebec, Canada
Women, Work, and Health: A University-based Faculty and Staff Assistance Model
Ellen G. Farhang, Psy.D., and Clyde A. Crego, Ph.D., California State University, Long Beach
Women who combine work and family are the norm in the United States. Despite parity with men in many fields, women continue to perform the largest portion of work at home. Moreover, demands of a changing workforce create time pressures, job insecurity, and a low sense of control at work. Of concern is the loss of personal time for rest and replenishment. Research has uncovered a link between the stress-related illnesses of employed women and concurrent performance of multiple roles.
Interviews of ten married full-time career women with young children revealed five themes. The women used internal and external resources to balance career with family. They, not their spouses, accommodated their work careers to their families. They tended not to take care of their emotional and physical needs. Their priorities, in decreasing order, were children, work, spouse, and self. Finally, all women indicated experiencing guilt, despite stifling other emotions for the sake of expedience.
Career women’s time and energy shortfall may affect their job performance and retention in universities and other work organizations. To meet this need, universities can develop enhanced employee assistance programs. One such faculty and staff program is being developed at a large urban university in California. The framework is based on a tripartite model with three levels of intervention: prevention, early intervention, and remediation.
The primary prevention level aims to lower the incidence of stress-related problems and to promote mental and physical health among faculty and staff "at risk" for such problems. Initiatives include workshops on stress and time management, assertiveness, integration of work and family roles, communication, exercise, nutrition, and parenting. Early intervention provides group counseling, short-term support groups, and crisis intervention, aimed at early detection of psychological, interpersonal, and physical problems. Remediation includes coping strategies, support groups, and short-term individual therapy. This level targets individuals with chronic disorders and includes referral to medical, psychological, legal and financial resources.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Ellen G. Farhang, Psy.D., 831 Hillside Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815, USA
Predictors of Dual-earner Couples' Postnatal Depression
Wendy A. Hall, Ph.D., R.N., Bonita C. Long, Ph.D, University of British Columbia
The majority of Canadian mothers with young children participate in the work force. Dual-earner mothers' generally report lower levels of psychological health than their male counterparts. Role quality, which reflects the quantity and quality of time and energy spent in paid work, family, and individual domains, contributes to psychological health. Work-family strain, which indicates competing demands between work and family domains, has also been linked to psychological health. Global life satisfaction involves judgments that are dependent on a comparison of one's circumstances with a standard set by an individual for him or herself.
The purpose of the study is to determine the extent to which involvement in family and work roles and life satisfaction during pregnancy contribute to dual-earner couples' depression after the birth of their first child. Work-family conflict and role disparity and intensity were hypothesized to be positively associated with depression, and life satisfaction to be negatively associated with depression (controlling for prenatal depression). It was expected that higher levels of work-family conflict and lower levels of role quality would be more strongly related to changes in depression for women than men. Data were collected at 2 time points to determine change in depression from antepartum to postpartum. 136 dual-earner couples completed questionnaires at about 20 to 40 weeks gestation and 8 to 10 weeks postbirth.
Descriptive statistics were computed for all variables. A repeated measures ANOVA indicated that from time 1 to 2, depression decreased for women more than for men, F(1.197)= 13.61, p<001. The variables were entered into an hierarchical multiple regression model with depression at time 2 as the criterion and depression at time 1 entered in the first block, sex in the second block, and the work family conflict, role quality, and life satisfaction entered in the next block. After controlling for prenatal depression, role satisfaction (b=-16), and role quality (b=.15) accounted for a significant amount of variance in depression, R2=.39. Work-family strain failed to contribute to change in depression. None of the interactions were significant.
As predicted greater prenatal role satisfaction and greater prenatal role intensity and disparity were associated with an increase in depression postpartum for both male and female dual earners.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Wendy A. Hall, R.N., Ph.D., School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, T201 2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 2B5
Work-Family Interface for Career and Noncareer Wives
Carolyn W. Graham, M. S. and Gwendolyn T. Sorell, Ph.D., Texas Tech University and Marilyn Montgomery, Ph.D., Florida International University
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between role identity and role stress that career and non-career wives experience in their attempt to negotiate the work-family interface. A content analysis of interviews with 7 dual-career and 7 non-career wives was conducted. This analysis identified both similarities and differences between career and non-career wives in role identity and role stress. Four role identities were found for the women studied: 1) mother-identified; 2) wife-identified; 3) multi-role-identified and 4) not-role-identified. Dual-career women tended to be mother-identified or multi-role identified, whereas most non-career women were equally distributed among mother-identified, wife-identified, and not-role-identified. Both dual-career women and non-career women were mother-identified. However, dual-career women were likely to be mother-identified and to report positive role experiences in all roles, whereas non-career women who were mother-identified reported ambivalence toward the wife role. Dual-career women in this study had more positive role experiences than did non-career women, such that dual-career women experienced positive affect towards wife, mother, and work roles. Non-career women indicated positive experiences from only mother and work roles, and not from the wife role. Furthermore, the majority of women in both groups experienced stress from mother and work roles. A slight difference between the two groups was found: Dual-career women reported more mother role stress than work role stress, whereas non-career women reported more work role stress than mother role stress. A difference in the type of role stress and conflict was also found, such that dual-career women experienced negative spillover effects and non-career women experienced strain-based role demands.
These findings indicate that for dual-career women, stress in one role influences other roles, whereas this is not the case for non-career women. The predominant types of role stress were: 1) spillover from one role to another, and 2) strain-based demands of performing a role. This study's findings also indicate that in the case of mother-identified women who have positive role experiences, role demands can be met without negative affective outcomes. Thus, for these women it is possible to negotiate the work-family interface successfully. This finding suggests that instead of just focusing on the negative aspects (demands and stress) of the work-family interface, as has been done in past studies, research should also focus on positive outcomes. In this way the mechanisms that produced positive effects can be identified and may suggest solutions to a problem that is sometimes considered hopeless due to the connotations of the "work-family conflict" terminology.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Carolyn W. Graham, M. S., Human Development and Family Studies, Texas Tech University, Box 41162, Lubbock, Texas 79404-1162
Links between Parents' Work Pressure and Adolescents' Psychological Well-being
Matthew F. Bumpus, M. S., Mary C. Maguire, Ph.D., Ann C. Crouter, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
Given the mounting evidence that parental work status in and of itself has no consistent associations with children’s or adolescents’ psychological functioning, in recent years researchers have turned their attention to understanding how parents’ experiences at work permeate the family and impact children and youth. Work pressure – the extent to which jobs involve deadlines, demands, and fast pace – is one important dimension of parents’ work circumstances; recent research has shown that both daily increases in and global levels of work stress make their mark on interactions in the home.
We tested a model in which mothers’ and fathers’ global work pressure was hypothesized to be linked to their overall feelings of role overload; role overload was expected to be associated with parent-adolescent conflict, which, in turn, was hypothesized to be negatively related to adolescents’ psychological well-being. In addition, we considered the impact of both parents’ work stress, and the experiences of two adolescent siblings, in a single path analytic model.
Data were drawn from the first phase of a longitudinal study of families with adolescents. Our sample consisted of 190 dual-earner families, each with a firstborn (M=15.0 years) and secondborn (M=12.5 years) adolescent. In home interviews, four family members (mother, father, and two adolescent siblings) were interviewed separately about family relationships, individual psychological functioning, and parents’ work circumstances.
We used structural equation modeling to test our hypotheses, which generally were confirmed. The model that best fit the data was one in which parents’ work pressure was linked to adolescent well-being (i.e., a latent construct composed of adolescents’ reports of self-worth and depression) indirectly through parents’ role overload and parent-adolescent conflict (utilizing reports from both parents and adolescents); this model provided a much better fit than did a direct effects model in which work pressure, role overload, and conflict each independently predicted adolescent well-being. Paths were quite similar for both firstborns and secondborns. Interestingly, fathers’ work pressure was linked to mothers’ role overload, but not vice versa, a crossover effect consistent with other research showing that wives are more cognizant of husbands’ work stress than husbands are of wives’ work stress. This model, although cross-sectional, provides a glimpse into the ways in which parents’ work pressure pervades the family, and has implications for both researchers and service providers.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Matthew F. Bumpus, M.S., Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University, S-110 Henderson Building, University Park, PA, 16802, USA.
Correlates of Family and Life Satisfaction: Job Conditions, Racial Discrimination, and Work-Family Interference
Noemí Enchautegui-de-Jesús, M.A.* and Diane Hughes, Ph.D., New York University
This study examined the relationship between work and family in a sample of Latinas/os and African-American men and women from New York City and Chicago. More specifically, the study assessed (a) the association of job conditions and workplace racial discrimination with work-family interference and (b) the association of these three work-related constructs with quality of marital and parental relationships and life satisfaction.
The measure of perceived job conditions yielded two factors: skill discretion (e.g., job requires learning new things) and demands (e.g., job is very hectic). Two factors were derived from the measure of perceived racial bias in the workplace: institutional discrimination (e.g., "respondent’s ethnic group" gets the least desirable assignments) and interpersonal prejudice (e.g., people you work with assume that "respondent’s ethnic group" is not as competent as others). The measure of work-family interference yielded one factor for each direction of conflict: from the family to the work domain and vice versa. Respondents rated the quality of their marital relationships from (1) poor to (5) excellent and of their relationship with children from (0) worst possible to (10) best possible. Life satisfaction ranged from (1) not at all to (4) a lot.
In a sample of 702 employed respondents whose median age was 38 years, 60% were men, 58% had minor children living at home, and 49% had a spouse. Median income was $27,000 and 35% did not complete high school. Fifty-seven percent of respondents were immigrants.
Increasing levels of job demands, skill discretion, and institutional discrimination were related to higher frequency of work-family interference in both directions. In a significant inverse association, the higher the frequency of interference of family roles in the work domain, the lower the quality of marital and parental relationships. The association between institutional racial discrimination in the workplace and lower quality of family relationships showed a trend towards significance. The quality of marital relationships was better among respondents with higher levels of job demands. Reports of greater life satisfaction were associated with increasing levels of job skill discretion. There was a trend towards significance in the association between family-to-work interference and lower life satisfaction.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Noemí Enchautegui-de-Jesús, 3619 Word Street, Dallas, TX 75204-5445, USA
Effects of Work-Family Conflict on Well-being among Non-Professional Employees
Elisa J. Grant-Vallone, Ph.D., California State University San Marcos, Stewart Donaldson, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
Dramatic changes have occurred in work and family life in recent decades. As a result, conflict between these roles is increasingly prevalent. Although researchers have explored the effects of conflict on many outcomes for professional employees, few studies have examined whether or not these findings generalize to non-professional employees. The purpose of this current study was to examine the effects of work-family conflict on the well being of a diverse sample of non-professional employees.
Data were collected from 342 employees who worked in a variety of different industries. Employees participated in the study with a co-worker whom they knew well, and completed a series of questionnaires about their own experiences and their co-workers experiences (e.g., both self-report measures and co-worker report measures were obtained). The surveys concerned various aspects of employees’ work environment, lifestyle, and health. In addition to obtaining multiple sources of data, data were also collected at two points in time separated by six months. Thus, both immediate and longer-term effects of conflict were considered. Similarly, all analyses were first conducted with self-report data, and then were replicated with co-worker reports.
The results revealed that work-family conflict at time one had both an immediate and a longer-term effect on employees’ depression and positive well being. That is, employees who experienced high levels of work-family conflict had lower levels of mental well being immediately and six months later. Analyses were conducted with both self-reports and co-worker reports as outcome variables, and a high level of consistency was demonstrated.
In summary, this study provides important evidence that work-family conflict is linked to detrimental outcomes for non-professional employees, and that these findings do not appear to be a result of problems associated with cross-sectional or self report data (e.g., they do not appear to be due to self-report bias or shared method variance problems).
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Elisa J. Grant-Vallone, Psychology Program, California State University San Marcos, San Marcos, CA 92096
Development of an Occupation-specific Stress Inventory: Military Reservists
Jacqueline Agnew, RN, MPH, PhD*, Aaron I. Schneiderman RN, MPH, Barbara Curbow, PhD, The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Strain associated with balancing work and family roles, like those sustained by members of the selected reserves, has been examined with the use of occupational stress models and has been shown to contribute to adverse health outcomes. Until recently, however, these models have relied only on instruments that characterize the general attributes of jobs. Newer approaches have been suggested to improve job strain models through the development and use of occupation-specific strain inventories. Preliminary research suggests that employment in the reserves can differ in important ways from both active duty and from civilian second jobs, including the fact that reservists usually have at least two work situations - their civilian and reserve jobs. The goal of this study is to develop a new instrument to allow characterization of the strain experienced by Army Reservists.
Participants in this study were members of reserve units located in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. They were of all ranks and both genders and had actively worked, for six months or more, in units whose missions were related to medical support.
The scales of the Reserve Stress Inventory address several domains of a job stress model. Thus, the five scales of the inventory focus on reserve experiences that reflect: 1) stressors related to job demands; 2) stressors related to reserve-family conflict; 3) opportunities for control (or decision latitude); 4) co-worker and family support and 5) resources associated with maintaining a position in the selected reserves. The initial version of the stress inventory is based on results of literature review, key informant interviews, focus groups, a preliminary questionnaire and evaluation of face validity by means of cognitive interviews. The initial Reserve-Specific Stress Inventory and its associated psychometric properties will be presented.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Jacqueline Agnew, RN, MPH, PhD, Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St., RM. 7503, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
Occupational Stress & Psychiatric Illness in the U.S. Military
Steven Pflanz, MD., Capt., USAF MC, FS; Chief, Mental Health Clinic, F.E. Warren USAF Base
Objective: This was a pilot study aimed at gathering preliminary data on the relationship between occupational stress and mental illness amongst military personnel. The primary goal of this study was to determine to what extent active duty mental health patients report suffering from significant occupational stress.
Methods: Eighty-five military mental health patients answered a 65 item survey that included items on the perception of occupational stress and reported life changes. It incorporated the 43 item Schedule of Recent Experiences (SRE). By adding the weighted values assigned to the 43 items, each respondent was given an SRE score, which is a measure of overall stress and has been shown to be predictive of future illnesses.
Results: A majority (60%) reported suffering from significant work stress. A majority (52%) reported that work stress was causing them significant emotional distress. Almost half (42.5%) reported that work stress was a significant contributor to the onset of their mental illness. The average SRE score for all respondents was 266, reflecting increased risk for future illnesses. Generic work stressors were endorsed more frequently than military specific stressors.
Conclusions: The results suggest that work stress may be a significant occupational health hazard in the US military that warrants further investigation. By gathering this data, interventions can be planned to mitigate the impact of stress caused by the military work environment on the mental health of military personnel.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Capt. Steven Pflanz, MD., 90 MDOS/SGOMH, FE Warren AFB, 82005
Occupational Stress, Perception of Well-being and Health-related Behaviors in Federal Correctional Workers
Casey Skvorc, J.D., M.S.*, Robbie D. Church, A.A., and Neil Grunberg, Ph.D. Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
The relationship between perception of well-being in field federal correctional workers as self-reported in a Prison Social Climate Survey, and incidence and prevalence of workers’ compensation claims in the Federal Bureau of Prisons is examined. The relationship between security level of the prison institution the correctional worker is assigned to, demographics, and perceptions of well-being are examined to determine the relationship between these factors and incidence and prevalence of workers’ compensation claims. Number of Employees Assistance Program contacts are examined by institution to determine the relationship between these contacts and the number of workers’ compensation filings by institution.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Casey Skvorc, J.D., M.S., Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20184
Psychosocial Factors among Women Working in the Maquiladora Industry in Mexico-U.S. Border
Cedillo-Becerril Leonor A. , M.P.H., D. Sc. University of Sonora, México
Objective: To identify and evaluate the main psychosocial risk factors among women workers in the foreign investment plants located in Mexico under the "Maquiladora Program."
Methods: The study was carried out in two electronic maquiladora plants in Mexico. Qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used. We conducted: Semistructured individual and group interviews; Workplace walkthroughs; and a survey (n=370), including the Spanish version of the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). JCQ scales were analyzed and eight new scales were developed: Five new scales assessed extra-job environment and three assessed work environment. Those were: Housing, Domestic responsibilities, Conflict relationships with family and friends and Balance and Spillover between work/home responsibilities, Boss and Coworkers relationships and Lack of control to accomplish the job. All scales were tested through examining reliability, objective validation and predictive validation using depressive symptoms. Depression questions come from the short form of CESD-11 and the total 18 item depression scale includes seven additional items related to vital exhaustion, anxiety, anger, tiredness and hostility.
Results: Reliability scores for the JCQ scales "skill discretion" (SD), "decision authority" (DA) and "psychological demands" (PD) are lower than the ones reported from other countries studies (Karasek et al, 1998). However, through background information/objective validation, there is support to remove one item from the SD and PD scales, but not for DA. Means and standard deviations for all these three scales are very similar to the ones from other countries. The best predictors of depression in descending order were: Spillover between Home/work responsibilities, Conflict relationships with family and friends, negatively with Balance home/work responsibilities, Job insecurity, negatively with Coworker relationships, Boss relationships and Supervisor support. Psychological Demands, related mostly with the exhaustion scale and negatively with Decision Latitude, related mostly with depression. All JCQ and new scales allowed differentiation among occupational groups but Spillover between home-work responsibilities.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Leonor A. Cedillo-Becerril, M.P.H., D.Sc. Universidad de Sonora. División de Ingeniería. Blvd. Luis Encinas y Rosales. Edif 5L. Hermosillo, Sonora. Mexico, 83000
Stress and Overuse Injuries in Dancers and Musicians: Two Unsafe Professions
Presenter: David J. Sternbach, MM, MSW
There are hardly any vocations that as dramatically reveal the relationship between stress and overuse injuries as the performing arts. Musicians and dancers are athletes who constantly push themselves to the edge pursuing artistic and technical goals, work under great performance pressures, and are continually at risk for overuse injuries. Both learn to perform with pain, living with the dread of disabling injuries throughout their careers.
Performing artists seem the most privileged of working people- pursuing professions they love. They have discovered their special talents and capacities for creating, and work with great dedication to develop their artistic potentials. It comes as a rude awakening that careers which offer self-fulfillment and which can bring enjoyment and profoundly meaningful experiences to so many, are also careers that are mine-fields filled with risk factors that can destroy these artists and their dreams.
Performers begin preparing while very young to compete in two overcrowded and highly competitive fields. Pressures to practice more, to achieve ever higher standards of excellence add up to more stress and higher risk for injury. These pressures increase throughout their educational careers, in auditions, and remain once they have arrived in the profession. Add to this that on stage it is all supposed to look effortless. Dancers and musicians are trained to disguise effort or strain- often to themselves, often until too late. Luciano Pavarotti once said, "Easy is a word that does not exist on stage". Performing is not easy, and, it is not safe. In one study, 76% of the musicians responding have played with pain severe enough to affect performance, with over 35% using beta-blockers for stage fright. In a 1997 study 92% of English musicians reported stage fright a major workplace concern. One study discovered that American musicians were dying 20-22% sooner than the general population, with 5% greater incidence of heart failure. Dancers rarely dance after their mid-30’s, often due to the cumulative effect of many injuries.
This presentation will review occupational stress factors for performers, types of injuries, and general health issues. It will cover how stress and denial in patients affects, and can disrupt, treatment and the rehabilitation process, and offer approaches proving effective in maintaining this patient group in treatment and returning them to work.
What can help? We endorse the creation of training programs in arts medicine and performance psychology, to promote effective treatment. We urge more attention to, and research on, this working population by occupational and mental health professionals. Finally, there is an urgent need for health and safety programs for performers, preferably at an early age, that can offer stress immunization and injury prevention skills for those who can create so much beauty, but who also are at risk for stress burnout and for injuries that constantly plague them, and which too often end their careers and their art forever.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: David J. Sternbach, Director, Performance Psychology Associates, 1503 Noyes Dr., Silver Spring, MD. 20910-2223.
Work-related Psychosocial Factors and Musculoskeletal Discomfort among VDT Workers
Zoe K. F. Siu, B.Sc., Chetwyn C. H. Chan, Ph.D., The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Louisa T. L. Wong, Ph.D., Occupational Safety & Health Council, and Leung-Kim Hung, M. B., B. S., The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Fast growth of computerization has brought in not only high technological convenience to the industries but also an increasing health concern to the computer users. Increased computerization in office workplace has already placed the routine of Visual Display Terminal (VDT) workers for continuous keyboard operation. Prolonged seating and long hours of VDT-keyboard work would possibly cause musculoskeletal discomfort and increase psychological burden to VDT workers. A dose-response model suggested by Armstrong et al. (1993) provides a theoretical framework to investigate the VDT work "exposure" and its relationship between psychological "responses" and "dose" of musculoskeletal discomforts.
The objective of this study is to investigate the common musculoskeletal discomforts and the work-related psychological factors associated with VDT work.
A cross sectional survey study design was employed to recruit subjects by means of stratified random sampling from the major industries in Hong Kong. A structured questionnaire was designed and administered to the subjects through face-to-face interview. Content of the questionnaire consisted of demographic characteristics, occupational history, musculsokeletal discomforts, and work-related psychological impact from VDT-keyboard work. A modified Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) (Kuorinka et al., 1987) was incorporated in the questionnaire for investigation of the symptoms of musculoskeletal discomforts.
Altogether 688 VDT-office workers (234 male and 454 female) participated in this study (response rate = 53.0%). 76.7% of the subjects were between 21 to 35 year-old with mean age of 29.2 (S.D. = 6.4). High prevalence rates of musculoskeletal discomforts are found: 57.0% on neck or shoulders discomforts, and 48.0% on back regions. Symptoms of musculoskeletal discomfort are described as pain, ache, soreness, numbness, cramping and tiring. The identified work-related psychological factors include experience of excessive workload, long working hours, high cognitive demand, poor control over work, poor communication with colleagues, lack of job satisfaction, lack of peer support, and fear of job security. It reveals that fifty percent of the subjects have experienced excessive workload in the past 12 months. 42.4% have experienced long working hours; 46.9%, high cognitive demand; 32.6%, poor control over work; 29.2 %, lack of job satisfaction. Significant chi-square statistics has demonstrated between the identified psychological factors and the occurrence of musculoskeletal discomfort associated with VDT work: neck/shoulder discomfort and work-related psychological factors (c 2 = 5.52 to 11.41, df = 1, p < 0.05), back discomfort and work-related psychological factors (c 2 = 5.43 to 5.78, df = 1, p < 0.05).
Results of the study reveal a high prevalence rate of musculoskeletal discomforts and work-related psychological factors among VDT office workers. Findings of this study demonstrate a significant relationship between the musculoskeletal discomfort "responses" and the psychological "responses" due to VDT work. Such findings, on the other hand, provide insights for further investigation of the nature of VDT-work "exposure" to the workers health and shed light on the impact of psychological "responses" in leading the musculoskeletal discomforts among VDT office workers.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Zoe K. F. Siu, B.Sc., Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.
Physiological Approach of Stress-Strain Processes in Air Traffic Controllers
Nuti L. Deliu*, M.D., Andriana I.Contulescu,.Sc.R., Eugenia A.Herlea, M.D., Evrichia N. Litescu, M.D., Mihaela C. Licurici,E.R. Violeta T.V. Setrarescu, Sc.R., Mihaela P.Negru, Sc.R., Simona I.Stan, Sc.R., Institute of Public Health Bucharest, Mariana N.Purice, Sc.R., Institute of Endocrinology "C.I.Parhon" Bucharest
This study aimed with a physiological approach of stress - strain processes in air traffic controllers using objective measures, applied in field conditions.
16 air traffic controllers from an Area Central Center (average age 35.5; SD 6.9 years, job seniority at this workplace 11.1; SD 7.2 years) were taken into the study. The working day (7 a.m. - 7 p.m.) consisted of successive working and rest sessions of two hours, and the workload was quantified by the number of the aircraft controlled/2 hours. The stress-related cardiovascular reactions were assessed by physiological parameters: heart rate obtained by ECG Holter recording on 12 hours, heart rate variability, and blood pressure measured every hour. Endocrine reactions were evaluated by measuring cortisol concentrations in whole unstimulated saliva samples collected every two hours. Salivary cortisol concentrations were determined by immunoenzimatic method (EIA) using Cortisol Serozyme kit, adapted by us for saliva samples.
The quantitative analysis of data showed that the highest average heart rate was recorded on the C1 posts, having the great strain determined by the limited processing of data in a very short time (sec.-min) and amplified by the uncontrollable factors (flights without permission, errors of control). Also the average heart rate/2 hours was statistically significant higher (p<0.001) during the periods with heavier air traffic versus those with lower air traffic. The highest values of the heart rate were recorded during the periods with uncontrollable factors (up to 40 beats/min versus the average value of the heart rate from the working sessions). The LF/HF ratio was higher during the mental effort sessions then the rest sessions. We found that the average systolic pressure and differential pressure were statistically significant increased (p < 0.05) during heavier versus lower air traffic working sessions.
The dynamics of the mean salivary cortisol concentrations were altered when they worked as controller one (C1) with statistical significant increases (p < 0.05) versus previous rest period value. These dynamics were against the usual decline corresponding to the daily rhythm. The salivary cortisol changes were in connection with the objective workload.
Our results are encouraging in order to go on with the utilization of these objectives measures in further studies regarding the assessment of possible physiological mechanisms in stress-strain processes.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Nuti L. Deliu, M.D., Department of Occupational Medicine, Institute of Public Health, 1-3, Dr. Leonte Street, 76256, Bucharest, Romania
Oorganizational and Personal Factors Associated with Productivity among Traffic Agents
Caren Baruch-Feldman, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Brondolo, Ph.D., St. John's University
The correlates of productivity may vary depending on the emotional and practical demands of the occupation. This study investigated the association of organizational, demographic, and personality factors to productivity in Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEAs). TEAs issue summonses for vehicular and parking violations, and have frequent conflicts with members of the public who are angry about receiving summonses. Given the emotional demands of the job, it was hypothesized that variables assessing support and anger management characteristics would be related to productivity.
Mixed-models analyses were used to evaluate the relationship of organizational structure (i.e., work unit size, number of supervisors, number of agents, and ratio of supervisors to agents), organizational perception (i.e., burnout, perceived supervisor and coworker support, job satisfaction), personality (i.e., hostility, trait anger, and anger expression) and demographics (i.e., age, sex, race) to summons-issuance rates for a one month period.
Survey data and organizational records were reviewed for 211 TEAs. When the predictor variables were examined jointly, they were associated with 26.1% of the variance in summons-issuance rates. Summon-issuance rates were significantly positively associated with the number of supervisors available (F(1,202)=6.93, p< .0001), perceived supervisor support (F(1,202)=12.32, p< .0005), female gender (F(1,202)=6.93, p< .01), and age (F(1,202)=3.03, p< .05). Summons-issuance rates were negatively associated with the number of agents in the unit (F(1,202)=8.08, p< .005) and the use of a suppressed anger management style (F(1,202)=5.48, p< .05). The results confirm the hypotheses about the association of support and anger-related traits to productivity in this workforce.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Elizabeth Brondolo, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, St. John's University. Jamaica, N.Y. 11439
Inequality in Stress Related Diseases in Denmark
Tüchsen F, MSc., BA. and Hannerz H, BSc. National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark
In the mid 1980's European governments committed themselves to the WHO goal "reduced inequality in health by year 2000", according to which inequality in health should be reduced 25% by the year 2000. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the progress for three stress related diseases. Occupational groups with high or increasing risk are identified in order to make it possible to establish focused preventive measures taking into account that specifications and conditions for tenders are the most powerful instrument to influence working conditions of many occupations today.
This study dealt with the change in the relative risk of being admitted to hospital in Denmark in the main employment status groups as measured in three cohorts. The cohorts were defined as all economically active people in Denmark as of 1 January 1981, 1986 and 1991. Information on employment was retrieved in 1980, 1985 and 1990. The cohorts were followed for first admissions with ischemic heart disease (IHD), gastric ulcer (GU), and duodenal ulcer (DU), as the principal cause for 5, 5, and 3 years. Gastritis (G) was only analysed in the most recent cohort.
The inequality measured as the relative risk ratio (RRR) between unskilled workers and senior salaried employees in 1991-93 was high for all four diseases for men (IHD: RRR = 1.7, CI95:: 1.6-1.8; GU: RRR = 2.8, CI95: : 2.3-3.5; DU: RRR = 2.3, CI95: 1.9–2.7; G: RRR = 2.6, CI95: 2.2–3.1), as well as for women (IHD: RRR = 1.8 ; CI95 1.4-2.4; GU: RRR = 1.9, CI95: 1.3–2.9; DU: RRR = 2.5, CI95: 1.5–4.2; G: RRR = 3.2, CI95: 2.2–5.0). We found no signs of a reduced inequality in stress related diseases. On the contrary we found a significant increase in IHD for men (1.5% per year, CI95: 0.6–2.5). We identified occupational groups at high and increasing relative risk. SMR for male bus drivers increased from 1.4 to 1.9 (p<0.05).
The inequality in stress related diseases is high and among males it is increasing for IHD. The income distribution in Denmark also widens but redistribution of income combined with the progressive tax income system has compensated for this trend so successfully that the differentials in available income has remained the same or even been slightly reduced. The work strain burden has, however, worsened for occupational groups like bus drivers. The EU tender system is now the key to deterioration or improvements of working conditions. A regulation of conditions and specifications of tenders is needed.
The 25% reduction in inequality is unlikely to be met by the year 2000 for stress related diseases. Preventive measures against stress related diseases should focus on occupational high risk groups and be tailored to their "subculture" instead of the broad approach which seems to appeal only to the best educated part of the population.