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Psychosocial conditions in a large public sector organisation during ‘austerity’ : what’s the real problem?

Hudson, JH 2015, Psychosocial conditions in a large public sector organisation during ‘austerity’ : what’s the real problem? , in: British Psychological Society Conference, 5th-7th May 2015, Liverpool.

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Objectives: Numerous psychosocial work stressors, such as excessive demands or insufficient manager support, have been linked with negative psychological health outcomes. However, if employers are to tackle stress-related issues, they need to know which of these generic psychosocial stressors are most significant in their workplace. This study assessed psychosocial stress-risks factors and their relationship with employee psychological health, in a large public sector organisation. Design: A cross-sectional self-report survey collected quantitative and qualitative data from employees regarding the psychosocial work environment and psychological health. Methods: 1,425 employees completed an online survey, incorporating validated measures (eg HSE stress-management standards indicator & GHQ-12). Qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis, while structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to assess relationships between stressors and psychological health. Results: Qualitative and quantitative data each suggested ‘demands’ as the main stressor, while ‘change’ was also prominent in both analyses. However, qualitative analysis indicated the main issue was more than simply the amount of work, with many employees citing a mismatch between resources and expectations. SEM analysis of quantitative data found some stressors had significant effects on psychological health, but via different pathways: ‘demands’ via its strong relationship with ‘job stressfulness’, while social and motivational factors (eg manager support) manifested their effects via job satisfaction. Conclusions: Both qualitative and quantitative data implicated similar psychosocial factors, but the different perspectives they contributed highlights the unique insight that each may add. Furthermore, SEM indicated the relationship between psychosocial working conditions and psychological health is not straightforward.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences
Publisher: British Psychological Society
Refereed: No
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: JH Hudson
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2015 17:14
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2016 19:28

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