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Journal of Occupational Health Psychology - Vol 19, Iss 4

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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 2014 American Psychological Association
  • Intimate partner aggression and women’s work outcomes.
    Using conservation of resources theory, we examined the relationship between intimate partner aggression enacted against heterosexual women and 3 types of work-related outcomes for these women: withdrawal while at work (i.e., cognitive distraction, work neglect), withdrawal from work (i.e., partial absenteeism, intentions to quit), and performance. In Study 1, we compared withdrawal both at and from work across 3 clinically categorized groups of women (n = 50), showing that experiencing physical aggression is related to higher work neglect. We replicated and extended these findings in Study 2 using a community sample of employed women (n = 249) by considering the incremental variance explained by both physical aggression and psychological aggression on these same outcomes. Results showed that physical aggression predicted higher levels of withdrawal both at and from work, with psychological aggression predicting additional variance in partial absenteeism over and above the effects of physical aggression. Study 3 extended the model to include academic performance as an outcome in a sample of female college students (n = 122) in dating relationships. Controlling for the women’s conscientiousness, psychological aggression predicted lower academic performance after accounting for the effects of physical aggression. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these results, as well as directions for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Workplace bullying erodes job and personal resources: Between- and within-person perspectives.
    Workplace bullying is a serious psychosocial occupational hazard. Despite a wealth of empirical study, research has rarely examined the mechanisms through which bullying has its negative effects. Accordingly, using both between- and within-person approaches, we investigated the erosion of job (Study 1) and personal (Study 2) resources following workplace bullying, mediated by the depletion of emotional energy. In Study 1, self-report survey data were collected from 221 retail workers at 2 time-points spaced 6 months apart. Structural equation modeling revealed that over time bullying depletes coworker support, partially mediated by emotional exhaustion. In Study 2, a 6-week diary was completed by a separate sample of 45 workers employed in various occupations. Within-person weekly variability in bullying exposure was 34%. Hierarchical linear modeling showed that weekly emotional exhaustion partially mediated the negative effects of weekly workplace bullying on both optimism and self-efficacy. The consistent pattern across both studies supports the idea of a resource loss process whereby exposure to bullying at work erodes job and personal resources by depleting energy. Future research should clarify the role of exhaustion in utilizing resources to respond to bullying, focus on predictors of within-person variability in bullying exposure, and more explicitly model the resource loss spiral following workplace bullying. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Sensitivity to social information, social referencing, and safety attitudes in a hazardous occupation.
    Social referencing, or seeking information cues from others, occurs when a worker must make sense of those aspects of work, like safety hazards, that are ambiguous. This is a central argument of Social Information Processing Theory (SIPT), a social referencing and job characteristics theory of work attitudes. Adapting SIPT to the understanding of safety perceptions and attitudes, this paper hypothesizes relationships between the worker’s sensitivity to social information, the worker’s social safety cognitions, and the worker’s own safety attitudes. Findings from a field study of workers in a hazardous occupation, emergency care/firefighting, confirmed SIPT-predicted relationships among these factors: the worker’s belief in management’s willingness to provide a safe work environment, the degree of risk the worker associates with his or her job, the worker’s concern about the frequency of exposure to hazards, and the worker’s personal experiences with hazards. These findings also suggest that a social referencing and job characteristics perspective like SIPT provides a logical and useful theoretical framework for understanding workers’ interpretations of safety conditions. This perspective also helps relate theories of safety attitudes to a broad set of theories of social information and organizational behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Civility norms, safety climate, and safety outcomes: A preliminary investigation.
    Working environments that are both civil and safe are good for business and employee well-being. Civility has been empirically linked to such important outcomes as organizational performance and individuals’ positive work-related attitudes, yet research relating civility to safety is lacking. In this study, we link perceptions of civility norms to perceptions of safety climate and safety outcomes. Drawing on social exchange theory, we proposed and tested a model in 2 samples wherein civility norms indirectly relate to safety outcomes through associations with various safety climate facets. Our results supported direct relationships between civility and management safety climate and coworker safety climate. Additionally, indirect effects of civility norms on unsafe behaviors and injuries were observed. Indirect effects of civility norms on unsafe behaviors were observed through coworker safety climate and work-safety tension. Indirect effects of civility norms on injuries were observed through management safety climate and work-safety tension for full-time employees, although these effects did not hold for part-time employees. This study provides initial evidence that researchers and practitioners may want to look beyond safety climate to civility norms to more comprehensively understand the origins of unsafe behaviors and injuries and to develop appropriate preventive interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The impact of shift work and organizational work climate on health outcomes in nurses.
    Shift workers have a higher rate of negative health outcomes than day shift workers. Few studies however, have examined the role of difference in workplace environment between shifts itself on such health measures. This study investigated variation in organizational climate across different types of shift work and health outcomes in nurses. Participants (n = 142) were nursing staff from a metropolitan Melbourne hospital. Demographic items elicited the type of shift worked, while the Work Environment Scale and the General Health Questionnaire measured organizational climate and health respectively. Analysis supported the hypotheses that different organizational climates occurred across different shifts, and that different organizational climate factors predicted poor health outcomes. Shift work alone was not found to predict health outcomes. Specifically, permanent night shift workers had significantly lower coworker cohesion scores compared with rotating day and evening shift workers and significantly higher managerial control scores compared with day shift workers. Further, coworker cohesion and involvement were found to be significant predictors of somatic problems. These findings suggest that differences in organizational climate between shifts accounts for the variation in health outcomes associated with shift work. Therefore, increased workplace cohesion and involvement, and decreased work pressure, may mitigate the negative health outcomes of shift workers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Time pressure and coworker support mediate the curvilinear relationship between age and occupational well-being.
    As the proportion of older employees in the workforce is growing, researchers have become increasingly interested in the association between age and occupational well-being. The curvilinear nature of relationships between age and job satisfaction and between age and emotional exhaustion is well-established in the literature, with employees in their late 20s to early 40s generally reporting lower levels of occupational well-being than younger and older employees. However, the mechanisms underlying these curvilinear relationships are so far not well understood due to a lack of studies testing mediation effects. Based on an integration of role theory and research from the adult development and career literatures, this study examined time pressure, work–home conflict, and coworker support as mediators of the relationships between age and job satisfaction and between age and emotional exhaustion. Data came from 771 employees between 17 and 74 years of age in the construction industry. Results showed that employees in their late 20s to early 40s had lower job satisfaction and higher emotional exhaustion than younger and older employees. Time pressure and coworker support fully mediated both the U-shaped relationship between age and job satisfaction and the inversely U-shaped relationship between age and emotional exhaustion. These findings suggest that organizational interventions may help increase the relatively low levels of occupational well-being in certain age groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The role of mindfulness and psychological capital on the well-being of leaders.
    In today’s highly competitive and extremely complex global economy, organizational leaders at all levels are facing unprecedented challenges. Yet, some seem to be handling the pressure better than others. Utilizing 4 samples of CEOs/presidents/top (n = 205), middle (n = 183), and junior (n = 202) managers, as well as 107 entrepreneurs, using Structural Equation Modeling we tested the direct effect that their level of mindfulness (heightened awareness) and the mediating effect of their psychological capital (i.e., hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism) may have on their mental well-being. In all 4 samples, mindfulness was found to be negatively related to various dysfunctional outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and negative affect of the managerial leaders and burnout (i.e., emotional exhaustion and cynicism) of the entrepreneurs. For all 4 samples, the model with psychological capital mediating the effects of mindfulness on dysfunctional outcomes fit the data best. The study limitations, future research and practical implications of these findings conclude the article. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Unfinished tasks foster rumination and impair sleeping—Particularly if leaders have high performance expectations.
    This study examines the relationship between time pressure and unfinished tasks as work stressors on employee well-being. Relatively little is known about the effect of unfinished tasks on well-being. Specifically, excluding the impact of time pressure, we examined whether the feeling of not having finished the week’s tasks fosters perseverative cognitions and impairs sleep. Additionally, we proposed that leader performance expectations moderate these relationships. In more detail, we expected the detrimental effect of unfinished tasks on both rumination and sleep would be enhanced if leader expectations were perceived to be high. In total, 89 employees filled out online diary surveys both before and after the weekend over a 5-week period. Multilevel growth modeling revealed that time pressure and unfinished tasks impacted rumination and sleep on the weekend. Further, our results supported our hypothesis that unfinished tasks explain unique variance in the dependent variables above and beyond the influence of time pressure. Moreover, we found the relationship between unfinished tasks and both rumination and sleep was moderated by leader performance expectations. Our results emphasize the importance of unfinished tasks as a stressor and highlight that leadership, specifically in the form of performance expectations, contributes significantly to the strength of this relationship. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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