2016-09-01 12:00 - Messages

Do psychosocial job resources buffer the relation between physical work demands and coronary heart disease

A prospective study among men
PURPOSE: Increasing evidence shows the detrimental impact of high physical work demands for cardiovascular health and mortality. The aim of this study was to investigate the buffering effects of social support at work and job control in the relation between physical work demands and incidence of coronary events. METHODS: The study included 14,337 middle-aged men free from coronary heart disease (CHD) at baseline. The sample consisted of a mixed occupational group recruited within 18 organizations from the manufacturing, service, and public sector. Data were collected through standardized questionnaires and clinical examinations. The incidence of clinical coronary events was monitored during a mean follow-up time of 3.15 years. Multilevel Cox proportional hazard regression modeling was used, adjusting for socio-demographic and classical coronary risk factors. RESULTS: Social support at work buffered the impact of physical work demands on CHD risk: Only among workers with low social support at work did physical work demands significantly increase the risk for CHD incidence (fully adjusted HR 2.50: 95 % CI 1.13-5.50), while this harmful effect completely disappeared in case of high level of workplace social support (fully adjusted HR 0.40; 95 % CI 0.09-1.70). No interaction or buffering effect with job control was observed. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study suggest that supportive relationships at work may be a useful resource for reducing the cardiovascular risk associated with physical work demands in men. Future studies are needed to confirm this moderating role of workplace social support and to unravel the underlying mechanisms.

Source: Clays E, Casini A, van Herck K, et al. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 2016.

Job Burnout in Mental Health Providers

A Meta-Analysis of 35 Years of Intervention Research
Burnout is prevalent among mental health providers and is associated with significant employee, consumer, and organizational costs. Over the past 35 years, numerous intervention studies have been conducted but have yet to be reviewed and synthesized using a quantitative approach. To fill this gap, we performed a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of burnout interventions for mental health workers. We completed a systematic literature search of burnout intervention studies that spanned more than 3 decades (1980 to 2015). Each eligible study was independently coded by 2 researchers, and data were analyzed using a random-effects model with effect sizes based on the Hedges' g statistic. We computed an overall intervention effect size and performed moderator analyses. Twenty-seven unique samples were included in the meta-analysis, representing 1,894 mental health workers. Interventions had a small but positive effect on provider burnout (Hedges' g = .13, p = .006). Moderator analyses suggested that person-directed interventions were more effective than organization-directed interventions at reducing emotional exhaustion (Qbetween = 6.70, p = .010) and that job training/education was the most effective organizational intervention subtype (Qbetween = 12.50, p < .001). Lower baseline burnout levels were associated with smaller intervention effects and accounted for a significant proportion of effect size variability. The field has made limited progress in ameliorating mental health provider burnout. Based on our findings, we suggest that researchers implement a wider breadth of interventions that are tailored to address unique organizational and staff needs and that incorporate longer follow-up periods.

Source: Dreison, Kimberly C.; Luther, Lauren; Bonfils, Kelsey A.; Sliter, Michael T.; McGrew, John H.; Salyers, Michelle P. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Sep. 19, 2016.

Mindfulness Interventions in the Workplace

A Critique of the Current State of the Literature
There is growing research interest regarding the significance of mindfulness in the workplace. Within this body of knowledge, research investigating the effects of mindfulness interventions on employee health and well-being has strong practical implications for organizations. A sound understanding of the current state of the workplace mindfulness intervention literature will help inform the suitability of these interventions within the workplace domain, and how to improve the conduct and communication of intervention-oriented research. Accordingly, in this article, we systematically review 40 published articles of mindfulness interventions in the workplace to identify ways in which these interventions could be improved, and how to overcome methodological concerns that threaten study validity. Studies selected for review were published peer-reviewed, primary empirical research studies written in English, with a focus on a workplace mindfulness intervention. We discuss a range of issues evident within this body of literature, including conceptualizations of mindfulness; the adaptation of protocols to work settings; internal validity in relation to random allocation and control conditions; the use of manipulation checks; attrition, adherence, acceptability, and maintenance of interventions; utilizing objective cognitive measures; examining organizational and well-being outcomes; and establishing boundary conditions. Overall, this review provides a resource to inform scholars to advance this line of inquiry and practitioners who are considering implementing a mindfulness intervention for employees.

Source: Jamieson, Stephanie D.; Tuckey, Michelle R. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Sep 19, 2016,.

Building Resilience in an Urban Police Department

Objective: The aim of this study is to examine a resilience training intervention that impacts autonomic responses to stress and improves cardiovascular risk, psychological, and physiological outcomes in police.
Methods: Officers [(n=38) 22 to 54 years] modified emotional and physical responses to stress using self-regulation. Measurements include psychological and physiological measures [eg, heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure, C-reactive protein)] obtained at three time intervals.
Results: Age was significantly (P<0.05) associated with changes on several measures of psychological stress (eg, critical incident stress, emotional vitality, and depression). Associations were found between coherence and improved HbA1c (r=−0.66, P<0.001) and stress due to organizational pressures (r=−0.44, P=0.03). Improvements in sympathetic and parasympathetic contributors of HRV were significant (P<0.03).
Conclusion: A stress-resilience intervention improves certain responses to job stress with greater benefits for younger participants.

Source: Ramey, Sandra L.; Perkhounkova, Yelena; Hein, Maria; Chung, Sophia; Franke, Warren D.; Anderson, Amanda A. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: August 2016, Volume 58, Issue 8, p. 796-804.

Emotional demands at work and the risk of clinical depression

A longitudinal study in the Danish public sector
OBJECTIVE: This study is a 2-year follow-up study of different dimensions of work-related emotional demands as a predictor for clinical depression. METHODS: In a two-wave study, 3224 (72%) public employees from 474 work-units participated twice by filling in questionnaires. Sixty-two cases of clinical depression were diagnosed. Emotional demands were examined as perceived and content-related emotional demands, individually reported and work-unit based. Support, meaningful work, and enrichment were considered as potential effect modifiers. RESULTS: Individually reported perceived emotional demands predicted depression (odds ratio: 1.40; 95% confidence intervals: 1.02 to 1.92). The work-unit based odds ratio was in the same direction, though not significant. Content-related emotional demands did not predict depression. Support, meaningful work, and enrichment did not modify the results. CONCLUSIONS: The personal perception of emotional demands was a risk factor for clinical depression but specific emotionally demanding work tasks were not.

Source: Vammen MA, Mikkelsen S, Hansen ÅM, et al. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2016.

Farmers' mental health

A longitudinal sibling comparison – the HUNT study, Norway
Norwegian farmers appeared to follow the same general trends in mental health over time as other occupations. However, when performing a sibling comparison to eliminate familial confounding from shared factors, farmers had higher odds of having symptoms of anxiety and depression than their siblings working in other occupations. This indicates a causal impact of working in agriculture on mental health.

Source: Torske MO, Bjørngaard JH, Hilt B, Glasscock D, Krokstad S. Scand J Work Environ Health, 2016.

High Stress and Negative Health Behaviors

A Five-Year Wellness Center Member Cohort Study
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between having a high stress level and health behaviors in employees of an academic medical center.
Methods: Beginning January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2013, an annual survey was completed by 676 worksite wellness members.
Results: Each year, about one-sixth of members had a high stress level, high stress individuals visited the wellness center less often, and most years there was a significant relationship (P<0.05) between stress level and poor physical health behaviors (physical activity level and confidence, strength, climbing stairs), low mental health (quality of life, support, spiritual well-being and fatigue), poor nutritional habits (habits and confidence), and lower perceived overall health.
Conclusions: High stress is associated with negative health behavior, and future studies, therefore, should explore strategies to effectively engage high stress employees into comprehensive wellness programs.

Source: Clark, Matthew M.; Jenkins, Sarah M.; Hagen, Philip T.; Riley, Beth A.; Eriksen, Caleigh A.; Heath, Amy L.; Vickers Douglas, Kristin S.; Werneburg, Brooke L.; Lopez-Jimenez, Francisco; Sood, Amit; Benzo, Roberto P.; Olsen, Kerry D. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: September 2016, Volume 58, Issue 9, p. 868-873.

Chronic Disease Risks From Exposure to Long-Hour Work Schedules Over a 32-Year Period

Objectives: This study aims at evaluating the chronic disease risk related to prolonged work in long-hour schedules for eight major chronic diseases: heart disease, non-skin cancer, arthritis, diabetes, chronic lung disease, asthma, chronic depression, and hypertension.
Methods: The study used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 covering 32 years of job history (1978 to 2009) for 7492 respondents. Logistic regression analyses were performed to test the relationship between average weekly work hours, and the reported prevalence of those conditions for each individual.
Results: Regularly working long hours over 32 years was significantly associated with elevated risks of heart disease, non-skin cancer, arthritis, and diabetes. The observed risk was much larger among women than among men.
Conclusions: Working long-hour schedules over many years increases the risk for some specific chronic diseases, especially for women.

Source: Dembe, Allard E.; Yao, Xiaoxi. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: September 2016, Volume 58, Issue 9, p. 861-867.

The effect of motherhood and work on women's time pressure

A cohort analysis using the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health
This is the first study using the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women´s Health to identify time stress in younger Australian women over a 17-year period with a focus on motherhood and work. Understanding the sources of time stress is important if policy-makers want to design and successfully implement health policies, and family-friendly parental leave and childcare policies.

Source: Otterbach S, Tavener M, Forder P, Powers J, Loxton D, Byles J. Scand J Work Environ Health, 2016,

A Comparison of Work-Related Injuries Among Shiftworkers and Non-Shiftworkers

Research has shown that the injury rate for shiftworkers is higher than the injury rate for non-shiftworkers. The aim of this report is to determine whether the elevated risk of shiftwork affects all groups of shiftworkers or only particular groups of shiftworkers. This is achieved by analysing statistics from a nationally representative survey that was undertaken in 2013–14. The report also analyses the characteristics and outcomes of work-related injuries to determine whether there are significant differences between shiftworkers and non-shiftworkers.

Source: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/comparison-of-work-related-injuries-shiftworkers-non-shiftworkers

Job strain and informal caregiving as predictors of long-term sickness

A longitudinal multi-cohort study
This study is the first to investigate the joint effects of job strain and informal caregiving on long-term sickness absence. The main finding was that informal caregiving responsibilities and/or high job strain predicted long-term sickness absence among women.

Source: Mortensen J, Dich N, Lange T, Alexanderson K, Goldberg M, Head J, Kivimäki M, Madsen IEH, Rugulies R, Vahtera J, Zins M, Rod NH. Scand J Work Environ Health.

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