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Journal of Occupational Health Psychology - Vol 20, 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 2015 American Psychological Association
  • Hindrances are not threats: Advancing the multidimensionality of work stress.
    The challenge-hindrance framework has proved useful for explaining inconsistencies in relationships between work stressors and important outcomes. By introducing the distinction between threat and hindrance to this framework, we capture the potential for personal harm or loss (threat) associated with stressors, as distinct from the potential to block goal attainment (hindrance) or promote gain (challenge). In Study 1, survey data were collected from 609 retail workers, 220 of whom responded 6 months later. The results supported a 3-factor threat-hindrance-challenge stressor structure and showed that threat stressors are associated with increased psychological distress and emotional exhaustion, and reduced dedication, whereas hindrance stressors undermine dedication but may not be related to distress or exhaustion with threats included in the model. Study 2 utilized a diary study design, with data collected from 207 workers over 3 workdays. Findings revealed that the threat, hindrance, and challenge appraisals of individual workers are statistically distinct, and associated with stressors and well-being as anticipated: threats with role conflict and anxiety, hindrances with organizational constraints and fatigue, and challenges with skill demands and enthusiasm. Overall, moving to a 3-dimensional challenge-hindrance-threat framework for stressors and stress appraisals will support a more accurate picture regarding the nature, processes, and effects of stressors on individuals and organizations, and ensure prevention efforts are not misguided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Relations of negative and positive work experiences to employee alcohol use: Testing the intervening role of negative and positive work rumination.
    This study tested a model linking work experiences to employee alcohol use. The model extended past research in 3 ways. First, it incorporated both negative and positive work experiences. Second, it incorporated a previously unexplored cognitive intervening process involving negative and positive work rumination. Third, it incorporated several important dimensions of alcohol use (heavy use, workday use, and after-work use). Data were collected from a national probability sample of 2,831 U.S. workers. Structural equation modeling revealed that the conceptual model provided an excellent fit to the data. Negative work experiences were positively related to negative work rumination, which was positively related to heavy alcohol use, workday alcohol use, and after work alcohol use. Positive work experiences were positively related to positive work rumination, which was negatively related to heavy alcohol use and after work alcohol use, but was unrelated to workday alcohol use. The study also provided initial support for the psychometric properties and construct validity of the newly developed Negative and Positive Work Rumination Scale (NAPWRS). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Do the benefits of family-to-work transitions come at too great a cost?
    This research examines the impact of role boundary management on the work-family interface, as well as on organizational (job embeddedness) and family (relationship tension) outcomes. First, we integrate conservation of resources theory with crossover theory, to build a theoretical model of work-family boundary management. Second, we extend prior work by exploring positive and negative paths through which boundary management affects work and family outcomes. Third, we incorporate spouse perceptions to create a dynamic, systems-perspective explanation of the work-family interface. Using a matched sample of 639 job incumbents and their spouses, we found that family-to-work boundary transitions was related to the job incumbents’ work-to-family conflict, work-to-family enrichment, and job embeddedness as well as the boundary management strain transmitted to the spouse. We also found that the boundary management strain transmitted to the spouse mediated the relationship between family-to-work boundary transitions and both work-to-family conflict and work-to-family enrichment. Finally, we found significant indirect effects between family-to-work boundary transitions and job embeddedness and relationship tension through both the boundary management strain transmitted to the spouse and the incumbent’s work-family conflict, but not through work-family enrichment. Thus, family-to-work boundary transitions offer some benefits to the organization by contributing to job embeddedness, but they also come at a cost in that they are associated with work-family conflict and relationship tension. We discuss the study’s implications for theory, research, and practice while suggesting new research directions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Please respond ASAP: Workplace telepressure and employee recovery.
    Organizations rely heavily on asynchronous message-based technologies (e.g., e-mail) for the purposes of work-related communications. These technologies are primary means of knowledge transfer and building social networks. As a by-product, workers might feel varying levels of preoccupations with and urges for responding quickly to messages from clients, coworkers, or supervisors—an experience we label as workplace telepressure. This experience can lead to fast response times and thus faster decisions and other outcomes initially. However, research from the stress and recovery literature suggests that the defining features of workplace telepressure interfere with needed work recovery time and stress-related outcomes. The present set of studies defined and validated a new scale to measure telepressure. Study 1 tested an initial pool of items and found some support for a single-factor structure after problematic items were removed. As expected, public self-consciousness, techno-overload, and response expectations were moderately associated with telepressure in Study 1. Study 2 demonstrated that workplace telepressure was distinct from other personal (job involvement, affective commitment) and work environment (general and ICT work demands) factors and also predicted burnout (physical and cognitive), absenteeism, sleep quality, and e-mail responding beyond those factors. Implications for future research and workplace practices are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Voluntary work and the relationship with unemployment, health, and well-being: A two-year follow-up study contrasting a materialistic and psychosocial pathway perspective.
    In the present study we contrast materialistic (i.e., income and economic inequality) and psychosocial (i.e., social circumstances) pathway perspectives on whether volunteering while being unemployed mitigates the well-documented negative effects of unemployment on health, health behaviors, and well-being. We test our hypotheses using data from the 2010 and 2012 waves of the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Study of Health (SLOSH; n = 717). This is a nationally representative, longitudinal, cohort survey. We compared groups of individuals who were (a) unemployed and volunteering during both SLOSH waves (n = 58), (b) unemployed and not volunteering during both SLOSH waves (n = 194), (c) employed and volunteering during both SLOSH waves (n = 139), and (d) employed and not volunteering during both SLOSH waves (n = 326). Conducting a path analysis in Mplus, we examined the interaction effects between labor market status (i.e., employed or unemployed) and voluntary work (i.e., volunteering or not) when predicting changes in health, health behaviors, and psychological well-being. Our results indicate that volunteering during unemployment significantly decreased the likelihood to smoke, the amount of cigarettes smoked, the likelihood of consuming alcohol, and the likelihood of being diagnosed with hypertension. These results support a psychosocial pathway perspective. For all other indicators no such buffering interaction effect was obtained, thereby supporting a materialistic pathway perspective. Nevertheless, for some indicators, volunteering was found to be beneficial for both the unemployed and employed. Consequently, integrating both perspectives might offer a better explanation for the onset of ill-health and ill-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Ethnicity and cultural values as predictors of the occurrence and impact of experienced workplace incivility.
    Workplace incivility is a subtle type of deviant work behavior that is low in intensity and violates workplace norms of respect. Past research demonstrates the harmful impact of incivility on work attitudes and employee wellbeing; however, little is known about how incivility is experienced by individuals of different ethnicities and cultural orientations. In the current study, we compared the amount and impact of workplace incivility that was experienced by Hispanic and white, non-Hispanic employees. Further, we examined whether cultural dimensions of vertical and horizontal individualism and collectivism moderated the relationships between workplace incivility and work and health outcomes. A sample of 262 university employees (50% Hispanic; 63% female) provided self-reports of experienced incivility, burnout, job satisfaction, and cultural values. Although male Hispanic employees experienced more incivility, female Hispanic employees experienced less incivility than non-Hispanic employees of the same gender. Hispanic employees displayed greater resilience against the impact of incivility on job satisfaction and burnout, compared with non-Hispanic employees. Additionally, employees with strong horizontal collectivism values (emphasizing sociability) were more resilient against the impact of incivility on burnout, whereas employees with strong horizontal individualism values (emphasizing self-reliance) were more susceptible to burnout and dissatisfaction when faced with incivility. These findings suggest that employees’ ethnicity and cultural values may increase or decrease their vulnerability to the impact of incivility at work. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Here today but not gone tomorrow: Incivility affects after-work and next-day recovery.
    This study examined the relation between daily incivility and afterwork recovery, hypothesizing that workplace incivility would have a negative effect on situational wellbeing, afterwork recovery experiences (psychological detachment and relaxation) and next-morning recovery level. Daily surveys were completed on 5 consecutive workdays by 175 employees in the legal industry. Multilevel analyses controlling for the daily number of hours worked showed that day-level incivility was negatively related to afterwork situational wellbeing and psychological detachment, but not to relaxation. Incivility experienced on 1 day also predicted recovery level the following morning. Results emphasize the ongoing impact of rudeness and disrespect in the workplace on employee wellbeing and offer an explanation for the long-term negative outcomes of what is typically thought of as a less severe workplace stressor. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Effectiveness of Total Worker Health interventions.
    Total Worker Health (TWH) was introduced and the term was trademarked in 2011 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to formally signal the expansion of traditional occupational safety and health (OSH) to include wellness and well-being. We searched PubMed, PsycINFO, and other databases using keywords TWH, health promotion, health protection, and variants for articles meeting the criteria of (a) employing both occupational safety and/or health (OSH, or health protection) and wellness and/or well-being (health promotion, or HP) in the same intervention study, and (b) reporting both OSH and HP outcomes. Only 17 published studies met these criteria. All but 1 of the 17 TWH interventions improved risk factors for injuries and/or chronic illnesses, and 4 improved 10 or more risk factors. Several TWH interventions reported sustained improvements for over a year, although only 1 is readily available for dissemination. These results suggest that TWH interventions that address both injuries and chronic diseases can improve workforce health effectively and more rapidly than the alternative of separately employing more narrowly focused programs to change the same outcomes in serial fashion. These 17 articles provide useful examples of how TWH interventions can be structured. The promise of simultaneous improvements in safety, health, and well-being leads to the call to pursue TWH research to identify and disseminate best practices. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Work-related treatment for major depressive disorder and incapacity to work: Preliminary findings of a controlled, matched study.
    The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of work-related cognitive–behavioral treatment (W-CBT) with that of cognitive–behavioral treatment as usual (CBT-AU) for employees on sick leave as a result of a major depressive disorder (MDD). We collected data for 26 matched outpatients at pre- and posttreatment, as well as at 1-year follow-up. Outcome measures were the days of incapacity to work (DIW) as well as self-report measures (Beck Depression Inventory [BDI], Symptom Checklist 90-R [GSI], Life Satisfaction Questionnaire [FLZ]). We analyzed data with hierarchical linear modeling in a 2-level model. Therapy effects were defined in 3 ways: effect size (ES), response (based on the reliable change index), and remission compared with the general population’s symptom level. The DIW were reduced significantly after both types of treatment, but employees showed even fewer DIW after W-CBT. At follow-up, significantly more employees were working as a result of W-CBT than with CBT-AU. Significant improvements on scores of self-rating measures corresponded with moderate-to-large effect sizes for both treatment types. Approximately 2 thirds of the treated employees were categorized as unimpaired on BDI scores at posttreatment and at follow-up. At least 1 half of the employees were classified as unimpaired on GSI scores at both assessment points. In future research, a randomized controlled trial should be conducted using a larger sample size to investigate the impact of moderators (e.g., employees at different branches of the company). Findings provided support for using common CBT techniques to enhance return to work without losing expected improvements at the symptom level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Workout at work: Laboratory test of psychological and performance outcomes of active workstations.
    With growing concerns over the obesity epidemic in the United States and other developed countries, many organizations have taken steps to incorporate healthy workplace practices. However, most workers are still sedentary throughout the day—a major contributor to individual weight gain. The current study sought to gather preliminary evidence of the efficacy of active workstations, which are a possible intervention that could increase employees’ physical activity while they are working. We conducted an experimental study, in which boredom, task satisfaction, stress, arousal, and performance were evaluated and compared across 4 randomly assigned conditions: seated workstation, standing workstation, cycling workstation, and walking workstation. Additionally, body mass index (BMI) and exercise habits were examined as moderators to determine whether differences in these variables would relate to increased benefits in active conditions. The results (n = 180) showed general support for the benefits of walking workstations, whereby participants in the walking condition had higher satisfaction and arousal and experienced less boredom and stress than those in the passive conditions. Cycling workstations, on the other hand, tended to relate to reduced satisfaction and performance when compared with other conditions. The moderators did not impact these relationships, indicating that walking workstations might have psychological benefits to individuals, regardless of BMI and exercise habits. The results of this study are a preliminary step in understanding the work implications of active workstations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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