Psychosocial Work Conditions and Aspects of Health

Detta är en avhandling från Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Sammanfattning: Today’s working life has led to new requirements and conditions at the workplace, and additional factors may be of importance for employees’ health. Most earlier research has taken place in stable organizations, and has not taken changes in organizations into account. The way in which psychosocial work conditions affect employees’ health and well-being has been the topic of several studies but mental ill health is still one of the most common causes of sick leave in Sweden. Little attention is given to the importance of the workplace and organizational context for employees’ health. The overall aim of this thesis is to investigate how different aspects of health are associated with psychosocial work conditions in today’s working life.This thesis comprises two empirical studies. The first study is a longitudinal study, based on questionnaire data from 1010 employees at the Swedish Labour Market Administration. The second study is designed as a prospective cohort study, based on questionnaire data from 8430 employees in ten organizations, participating in the LOHP project. Linear and logistic regressions were performed to investigate associations between psychosocial work conditions and different aspects of health. Multilevel analysis was performed in one paper.The main findings in Paper I are that traditional job stress models are better for predicting ill health than good health. Different psychosocial work conditions may however, be useful for measuring different aspects of health, depending on whether the purpose is to prevent ill health or to promote health. In Paper II, psychosocial work conditions and symptoms of burnout were found to differ between different hierarchical levels, and different psychosocial work conditions were associated with symptoms of burnout at different hieratical levels. Paper III showed that psychosocial work conditions predict voluntary job mobility, and this may be due to two forces for job mobility: job dissatisfaction and career development. In Paper IV, a strong association between high work ability and better performance was found. Clear goals and expectations may result in improved psychosocial work conditions and work ability, which in turn affects employees’ performance.This thesis has provided knowledge regarding different aspects of health and psychosocial work conditions. Conditions at the organizational and workplace level set the prerequisites for if and how employees use their resources and their ability to act. Access to resources and the capacity to use them may vary depending on the employees’ hierarchal position. Occupational health research needs to focus on differences in psychosocial work conditions at different hierarchical levels. Organizations with clear goals and expectations may create more favourable conditions at work, supporting employees’ room for manoeuver, social capital and their ability to cope with working life, hence promoting health. Health promotion has a holistic approach and considers the work environment, the individual and the interplay between them. However, most health interventions at workplaces are directed to employees’ health behaviour rather than improvements in organizational and work conditions. To develop a good work environment it is necessary to identify conditions at work that promote different aspects of health. These conditions need to be tackled at the organizational, workplace and individual level, as good health is shaped by the interplay between the employee and the conditions for work.