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Journal of Occupational Health Psychology - Vol 21, 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 2016 American Psychological Association
  • Coming back to work in the morning: Psychological detachment and reattachment as predictors of work engagement.
    Research has shown that recovery processes in general and psychological detachment in particular are important for work engagement. We argue that work engagement additionally benefits from reattachment to work in the morning (i.e., mentally reconnecting to work before actually starting to work) and that the gains derived from psychological detachment and reattachment are stronger in the morning than in the afternoon. We tested our hypotheses in a daily diary study with a sample of 167 employees who completed 2 surveys per day over the period of 2 workweeks. Hierarchical linear modeling showed that work engagement was higher in the morning than in the afternoon. Evening psychological detachment and morning reattachment positively predicted work engagement throughout the day. The association between reattachment and work engagement was stronger in the morning than in the afternoon. This study demonstrates that not only psychological detachment from work during leisure time, but also reattachment to work when coming back to work are crucial for daily engagement at work. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • How work–self conflict/facilitation influences exhaustion and task performance: A three-wave study on the role of personal resources.
    Although work and family are undoubtedly important life domains, individuals are also active in other life roles which are also important to them (like pursuing personal interests). Building on identity theory and the resource perspective on work–home interface, we examined whether there is an indirect effect of work–self conflict/facilitation on exhaustion and task performance over time through personal resources (i.e., self-efficacy and optimism). The sample was composed of 368 Dutch police officers. Results of the 3-wave longitudinal study confirmed that work–self conflict was related to lower levels of self-efficacy, whereas work–self facilitation was related to improved optimism over time. In turn, self-efficacy was related to higher task performance, whereas optimism was related to diminished levels of exhaustion over time. Further analysis supported the negative, indirect effect of work–self facilitation on exhaustion through optimism over time, and only a few reversed causal effects emerged. The study contributes to the literature on interrole management by showing the role of personal resources in the process of conflict or facilitation over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Longitudinal study of the feasibility of using ecological momentary assessment to study teacher stress: Objective and self-reported measures.
    There is a lack of comprehensive research on Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) feasibility to study occupational stress, especially its long-term sustainability. EMA application in education contexts has also been sparse. This study investigated the feasibility of using EMA to study teacher stress over 2 years using both objective compliance data and a self-reported feasibility survey. It also examined the influence of individual and school factors on EMA feasibility. Participants were 202 sixth through eighth grade teachers from 22 urban middle schools in the southern United States. EMA was implemented via an iPod-based Teacher Stress Diary (TSD). Teachers recorded demands, stress responses, and resources during 12 days (6 waves) over 2 years. Feasibility was assessed via compliance data generated by the TSD (e.g., entry completion) and an EMA Feasibility Survey of self-reported user-friendliness and EMA interference. The results showed high compliance regarding entry and item completion, and completion time, which was sustained over time. User-friendliness was appraised as very high and EMA interference as low. Initial difficulties regarding timing and length of assessments were addressed via EMA method refinement, resulting in improved feasibility. Teachers’ ethnicity, age, marital status, grade/course taught, class size, class load, and daily workload impacted feasibility. The results supported the feasibility of using EMA to study work stress longitudinally and the value of continued feasibility monitoring. They also support EMA use to study teacher stress and inform EMA implementation in schools. Some teacher and school factors need to be taken into consideration when deciding on EMA implementation in education contexts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Stress in nonregular work arrangements: A longitudinal study of task- and employment-related aspects of stress.
    In nonregular forms of employment, such as fixed-term or temporary agency work, 2 sources of stress must be distinguished: task-related stress components (e.g., time pressure) and employment-related stress components (e.g., effort to maintain employment). The present study investigated the relationship between task- and employment-related demands and resources and indicators of strain, well-being, work engagement, and self-rated performance in a sample of nonregular employed workers. Using a 2-wave longitudinal design, the results of autoregressive cross-lagged structural equation models demonstrated that time pressure, as a task-related demand, is positively related to strain and negatively related to well-being and self-rated performance. Autonomy, as a task-related resource, exhibited no significant relationships in the current study. Employment-related demands exhibited negative relationships with well-being and work engagement as well as negative and positive relationships with self-rated performance over time. Employment-related resources were primarily positive predictors of well-being and self-rated performance. Fit indices of comparative models indicated that reciprocal effect models (which enable causal and reverse effects) best fit the data. Accordingly, demands and resources predicted strain, well-being, work engagement, and self-rated performance over time and vice versa. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Psychologically detaching despite high workloads: The role of attentional processes.
    Although psychologically detaching from work is beneficial for employee well-being and productivity, heavy workloads can interfere with detachment. Drawing from the self-regulation literature, we expand the stressor-detachment model to explore 2 attentional factors that shape the workload-detachment relationship: dispositional self-control—defined as a trait ability to regulate thoughts and behavior—and a daily planning intervention designed to direct attention away from incomplete work goals. Overall, we hypothesized that the ability to control and redirect attention is crucial for detaching from high workloads. Using an experimental daily diary design with 103 employees, we replicated previous results that daily workload is negatively associated with daily psychological detachment. However, this relationship was nonsignificant for individuals high on dispositional self-control and those that completed the planning intervention. We also observed a 3-way interaction, where the planning intervention was only effective for individuals low on dispositional self-control because employees high on self-control were naturally better at detaching from high workloads. Overall, these results illustrate the theoretical and practical utility of an attention-based perspective on detachment processes, including a simple intervention for helping individuals detach at home despite high workloads. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Getting what you want: How fit between desired and received leader sensitivity influences emotion and counterproductive work behavior.
    We challenge the intuitive belief that greater leader sensitivity is always associated with desirable outcomes for employees and organizations. Specifically, we argue that followers’ idiosyncratic desires for, and perceptions of, leader sensitivity behaviors play a key role in how followers react to their leader’s sensitivity. Moreover, these resulting affective experiences are likely to have important consequences for organizations, specifically as they relate to employee counterproductive work behavior (CWB). Drawing from supplies-values (S-V) fit theory and the stressor-emotion model of CWB, the current study focuses on the affective and behavioral consequences of fit between subordinates’ ideal leader sensitivity behavior preferences and subordinates’ perceptions of their actual leader’s sensitivity behaviors. Polynomial regression analyses reveal that congruence between ideal and actual leader sensitivity influences employee negative affect and, consequently, engagement in counterproductive work behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Reactions to changes in work control: Implications for self-determined and non-self-determined individuals.
    We investigate the extent to which individuals’ global motivation (self-determined and non-self-determined types) influences adjustment (anxiety, positive reappraisal) and engagement (intrinsic motivation, task performance) in reaction to changes to the level of work control available during a work simulation. Participants (N = 156) completed 2 trials of an inbox activity under conditions of low or high work control—with the ordering of these levels varied to create an increase, decrease, or no change in work control. In support of the hypotheses, results revealed that for more self-determined individuals, high work control led to the increased use of positive reappraisal. Follow-up moderated mediation analyses revealed that the increases in positive reappraisal observed for self-determined individuals in the conditions in which work control was high by Trial 2 consequently increased their intrinsic motivation toward the task. For more non-self-determined individuals, high work control (as well as changes in work control) led to elevated anxiety. Follow-up moderated mediation analyses revealed that the increases in anxiety observed for non-self-determined individuals in the high-to-high work control condition consequently reduced their task performance. It is concluded that adjustment to a demanding work task depends on a fit between individuals’ global motivation and the work control available, which has consequences for engagement with demanding work. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Building resilience through exposure to stressors: The effects of challenges versus hindrances.
    This paper explores the potential for certain types of stressors to build resilience in the occupational setting. Using the challenge–hindrance stressor framework (Cavanaugh, Boswell, Roehling, & Boudreau, 2000), we propose that challenge stressors have the potential to promote the capacity for resilience, whereas hindrance stressors experienced in the workplace erode resilient functioning. Employing a 2-wave longitudinal design we examined the effects of challenge and hindrance stressors on psychological resilience and strain 3 months later. Two-hundred and 8 working adults (48.1% female) participated in both surveys. Findings indicated that Time 1 challenge stressors had a significant effect on psychological resilience 3 months later (Time 2). In contrast, Time 1 hindrance stressors positively predicted Time 2 strain and negatively predicted psychological resilience. Moreover, resilience mediated the relationship between Time 1 stressors and Time 2 strain. These results demonstrate the potential positive and negative impacts of workplace stressor types on psychological resilience, and provide an exploration of a mechanism through which challenge and hindrance stressors influence well-being. This analysis also investigated the role of resilience in moderating the relationship between hindrances and strain. Some evidence emerged for the moderating role of resilience in the hindrance–strain relationship. The implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Enhancing well-being at work: The role of emotion regulation skills as personal resources.
    Dealing with negative emotions is a crucial work demand, particularly for employees in health care. Job resources (e.g., autonomy, social support, or reward) but also personal resources (such as emotion regulation strategies) might reduce job stress and support well-being. Following this, the present study focused on strengthening emotion regulation as 1 way of dealing with high job demands. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a standardized emotion regulation training (Affect Regulation Training [ART]; Berking, 2010) to improve emotion regulation skills and well-being of employees in elderly health care. Therefore, 96 elderly care workers filled out an established questionnaire of emotion regulation skills as well as a measure of well-being at pretreatment, posttreatment and at 6-month follow-up. The findings show that the ART fosters emotion regulation skills. In particularly, acceptance, tolerance, and modification of negative emotions was enhanced in the training groups in comparison to a control-group. Modification, meaning the ability to actively change emotions, improved even more over the follow-up-period. Simultaneously, well-being of participants increased over all measurement time points in the ART-group compared with the control-group. Additionally, the improvement in emotion regulation skills from pre to posttreatment was related to well-being at follow-up. In summary, our results support the ART as an effective intervention for dealing with negative emotions and to enhance well-being among employees in elderly care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The 10% solution: Tying managerial salary increases to workplace wellness actions (and not results).
    Although manager support is critical for workplace health and wellness efforts, little is known about how to best encourage managers to make creative or bold steps toward employee wellness. We posit that the right interactions between managers and employees could have lasting impact on workplace wellness. To consider how managers might be motivated to take an active role in promoting everyday employee health and wellness, we used a website survey of worksite managers (N = 270) to investigate how tying at least 10% of managerial annual salary increases and promotion would incentivize manager actions in workplace wellness. Overall, regression analyses reveal favorable attitudes from managers and high intentions to implement changes if salary increases and advancement were partially linked to workplace wellness efforts. Managers also expressed a preference for working for a company with this policy, and this was strongest among female managers and managers with a fewer number of subordinates. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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