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Journal of Occupational Health Psychology - Vol 21, Iss 2

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Journal of Occupational Health Psychology The Journal of Occupational Health Psychology publishes research, theory, and public policy articles in occupational health psychology, an interdisciplinary field representing a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and specializations. Occupational health psychology concerns the application of psychology to improving the quality of worklife and to protecting and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of workers. The Journal has a threefold focus on the work environment, the individual and the work family interface.
Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association
  • What happens at work stays at work? Workplace supervisory social interactions and blood pressure outcomes.
    We investigated the relationship between workplace supervisory social interactions and blood pressure outcomes using hourly diary entries and ambulatory blood pressure data from an experience sampling study of 55 long-term care employees. After accounting for relevant cardiovascular controls, significant effects of supervisory interactions on cardiovascular reactivity and recovery were found. Multilevel analyses revealed that negatively perceived supervisory interactions predicted higher systolic blood pressure at work (B = −1.59, p <.05, N observations = 422). Using time-lagged hierarchical regression analyses, the average perceived valence of supervisory interactions at work predicted average systolic blood pressure recovery after work (B = −14.52, p <.05, N = 33). Specifically, negatively perceived supervisory interactions at work predicted poorer cardiovascular recovery after work. Suggestions for improving practices in organizations and in experience sampling research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The crossover of psychological distress from leaders to subordinates in teams: The role of abusive supervision, psychological capital, and team performance.
    This study examines the underlying mechanism of the crossover process in work teams. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, we hypothesize that a leader’s psychological distress positively influences subordinates’ psychological distress through abusive supervision. We further hypothesize that team performance attenuates the association between a leader’s psychological distress and abusive supervision. In addition, we expect that psychological capital attenuates the positive relationship between abusive supervision and subordinates’ psychological distress. Participants were drawn from 86 business teams, and multisource data were collected. The hypotheses were tested with multilevel analysis. Results supported the crossover of psychological distress from leader to subordinates, and abusive supervision serves as a mediating mechanism. The positive relationship between a leader’s distress and abusive supervision is stronger when team performance is lower. In addition, the positive relationship between abusive supervision and subordinates’ psychological distress is stronger when subordinates’ psychological capital is lower. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Effective and ineffective coping strategies in a low-autonomy work environment.
    The authors examined the effectiveness of different coping strategies in buffering the negative effects of uncontrollable stressors and predicting mental health symptoms in a low-autonomy work environment using a longitudinal design. Soldiers in training indicated the extent to which they engaged in various coping strategies to deal with stressors related to the training environment at 4 different points in time. Factor analyses of soldiers in 2 different countries (i.e., United States and Australia) yielded 5 coping dimensions: active coping, acceptance of demands, seeking social support, humor, and denial/self-criticism. Among U.S. soldiers in basic training, acceptance of demands and denial/self-criticism interacted with the magnitude of basic-training stressors to predict mental health symptoms (depression and anxiety) at 3 different points during training while controlling for symptoms at the immediate prior time period. Acceptance buffered soldiers from the negative effects of the stressors, whereas denial/self-criticism exacerbated the effects of the stressors. The results of LGC models also indicated that the slopes of acceptance and active coping were negatively related to the slope of mental health symptoms across training, whereas the slope for denial/self-criticism was positively related to the slope of symptoms. Active coping was less predictive of functioning in the face of stressors and in the prediction of symptoms over time. The results demonstrated that in a low-autonomy occupational setting, acceptance coping was more effective in facilitating good mental health outcomes compared with other coping strategies considered important in prior research (e.g., active coping). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Improving well-being at work: A randomized controlled intervention based on selection, optimization, and compensation.
    This study aimed to develop, implement, and evaluate an occupational health intervention that is based on the theoretical model of selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC). We conducted a stratified randomized controlled intervention with 70 nurses of a community hospital in Germany (94% women; mean age 43.7 years). Altogether, the training consisted of 6 sessions (16.5 hours) over a period of 9 months. The training took place in groups of 6–8 employees. Participants were familiarized with the SOC model and developed and implemented a personal project based on SOC to cope effectively with 1 important job demand or to activate a job resource. Consistent with our hypotheses, we observed a meaningful trend that the proposed SOC training enhanced mental well-being, particularly in employees with a strong commitment to the intervention. While highly committed training participants reported higher levels of job control at follow-up, the effects were not statistical significant. Additional analyses of moderation effects showed that the training is particularly effective to enhance mental well-being when job control is low. Contrary to our assumptions, perceived work ability was not improved by the training. Our study provides first indications that SOC training might be a promising approach to occupational health and stress prevention. Moreover, it identifies critical success factors of occupational interventions based on SOC. However, additional studies are needed to corroborate the effectiveness of SOC trainings in the occupational contexts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Work stress models and diurnal cortisol variations: The SALVEO study.
    The objective of this study was to assess components, subscales, and interactions proposed by the popular Job Demand-Control (JDC), Job Demand-Control-Support (JDCS), and Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) work stress models in relation to diurnal variation of the stress hormone cortisol. Participants included 401 day-shift workers employed from a random sampling of 34 Canadian workplaces. Questionnaires included the Job Content Questionnaire to measure psychological demands, decision latitude, and social support as well as the Effort–Reward Imbalance Questionnaire to measure effort, reward, and overcommitment. Salivary cortisol was collected on 2 working days at awaking, +30 min after awaking, 1400h, 1600h, and bedtime. Multilevel regressions with 3 levels (time of day, workers, workplaces) were performed. Results revealed that JDC, JDCS and ERI interactions were not statistically associated with variations in diurnal cortisol concentrations. By contrast when assessing specific work stress subscales, increased psychological demands were linked to decreased bedtime cortisol, increased job recognition was linked to increased cortisol +30 min after waking and at bedtime, and finally increased overcommitment was linked to increased awakening cortisol and decreased cortisol at 1400h, 1600h, and bedtime. Sex moderation effects principally among men were additionally detected for psychological demands, total social support, and supervisor support. Our findings suggest that components and subsubscales of these popular work stress models rather than theorized interactions are more meaningful in explaining diurnal cortisol variations. In particular, psychological demands, job recognition, overcommitment, and to a lesser extent social support at work are the most significant predictors of diurnal cortisol variation in this large sample of Canadian workers. Importantly, the overall effect sizes of these subscales that explained diurnal cortisol concentrations were weak. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Sense of coherence and the motivational process of the job-demands–resources model.
    This longitudinal study systematically examines the various roles played by the personal resource “sense of coherence” (SoC) in the motivational process described by the job-demands–resources model. SoC captures the extent to which people perceive their life as comprehensible, manageable and meaningful, and there is evidence of its influence in many health-related outcomes. The first aim here was to establish whether a resourceful working environment builds up SoC and whether SoC leads to work engagement. A second aim was to test reverse relationships: how work engagement leads to SoC and how SoC in turn relates to job resources. A third aim was to assess whether SoC boosts the relationship between job resources and work engagement. The study utilized a 3-wave, 3-month panel design, involving 940 employees working in a broad range of occupations and economic sectors. The results of longitudinal structural equation modeling show that job resources predict SoC and SoC predicts work engagement, suggesting a mediating role of SoC. In addition, SoC predicts job resources, suggesting reciprocal relationships between job resources and SoC. No boosting effect of SoC was found. Overall, the present findings support the view that providing employees with a resourceful working environment will help to build their SoC. The effects of SoC on perceptual, appraisal, and behavioral processes may in turn lead to enhanced job resources and positive outcomes such as greater work engagement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A qualitative and quantitative examination of the antecedents of customer incivility.
    Customer incivility is known to have a negative impact on employees working in service jobs. Despite an understanding of the negative outcomes of customer incivility (e.g., burnout, disengagement, absenteeism), little research has investigated antecedents of this low-intensity deviant behavior. This is a clear oversight, given that understanding antecedents of customer incivility is essential for determining methods for reducing this stressor. As such, we conducted 2 studies examining these antecedents. For Study 1, we used a qualitative approach, assessing customer incivility from the perspective of the customer. Three overall themes (with 13 subthemes) emerged that could potentially lead to customer incivility: characteristics of the customer, characteristics of the organization/environment, and characteristics of the service employee. In Study 2, we conducted a quantitative study to investigate—from the perspective of the service employee—customer incivility antecedents that could be potentially controlled by the organization, either through changing the work environment or the employee (through training and selection). The results of a 2 time-point survey study showed that the service environment, service rep incivility, service orientation, agreeableness, and neuroticism served as antecedents to customer incivility. Practical implications are discussed, identifying options for organizational leaders interested in reducing customer incivility, and advice is provided for researchers seeking to further examine the antecedents of customer incivility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Work-related factors of presenteeism: The mediating role of mental and physical health.
    Even though work-related factors have been found to play a crucial role in predicting presenteeism, studies investigating established theoretical frameworks of job design features and, in particular, underlying mechanisms are still very scarce. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of the areas of work life according to the Areas of Worklife Scale (AWS; Leiter & Maslach, 2004) on presenteeism. We examined mental and physical health as the underlying process of this relationship and assessed 2 presenteeism outcome measures and their relationship to each other—that is, the frequency of acts of presenteeism and work productivity. Using a cross-sectional design, the study was conducted in a sample of 885 employees from German public service. Results showed that the influence of some, but not all, areas of work life (workload, control, reward, and values) on both acts of presenteeism and health-related lost productivity was mediated by health indicators (well-being and musculoskeletal complaints). Moreover, we found a relationship between health-related lost productivity and acts of presenteeism. The present research clarifies the importance of work-related factors as antecedents of sickness presenteeism. The findings of our study also emphasize the necessity to include both acts of presenteeism and health-related lost productivity in presenteeism research and prevention. Presenteeism should be included as a measure in health prevention interventions because it reflects a crucial part of employee health that is not covered by other measures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The benefits of bad economies: Business cycles and time-based work–life conflict.
    Recent management research has indicated the importance of family, sleep, and recreation as nonwork activities of employees. Drawing from entrainment theory, we develop an expanded model of work–life conflict to contend that macrolevel business cycles influence the amount of time employees spend on both work and nonwork activities. Focusing solely on working adults, we test this model in a large nationally representative dataset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that spans an 8-year period, which includes the “Great Recession” from 2007 through 2009. We find that during economic booms, employees work more and therefore spend less time with family, sleeping, and recreating. In contrast, in recessionary economies, employees spend less time working and therefore more time with family, sleeping, and recreating. Thus, we extend the theory on time-based work-to-family conflict, showing that there are potential personal and relational benefits for employees in recessionary economies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A practical scale for Multi-Faceted Organizational Health Climate Assessment.
    The current study sought to develop a practical scale to measure 3 facets of workplace health climate from the employee perspective as an important component of a healthy organization. The goal was to create a short, usable yet comprehensive scale that organizations and occupational health professionals could use to determine if workplace health interventions were needed. The proposed Multi-faceted Organizational Health Climate Assessment (MOHCA) scale assesses facets that correspond to 3 organizational levels: (a) workgroup, (b) supervisor, and (c) organization. Ten items were developed and tested on 2 distinct samples, 1 cross-organization and 1 within-organization. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses yielded a 9-item, hierarchical 3-factor structure. Tests confirmed MOHCA has convergent validity with related constructs, such as perceived organizational support and supervisor support, as well as discriminant validity with safety climate. Lastly, criterion-related validity was found between MOHCA and health-related outcomes. The multi-faceted nature of MOHCA provides a scale that has face validity and can be easily translated into practice, offering a means for diagnosing the shortcomings of an organization or workgroup’s health climate to better plan health and well-being interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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