Are there any job resources capable of moderating the effect of physical demands on work ability?

A study among kindergarten teachers
Background. It is recognized that teaching in a preschool context is physically demanding. Despite this, the consequences of physical demands on psychophysical health (including work ability) are significantly understudied among kindergarten teachers. Objectives. The aim of the present study is to examine (a) the association between physical demands and work ability and (b) whether psychosocial job resources buffer the negative impact of physical demands among kindergarten teachers. Method. A total of 426 kindergarten teachers employed in the municipal educational services of a city in northwest Italy filled out a self-reported questionnaire. Results. High association was found between physical demand and work ability. Moderated hierarchical regressions showed that decision authority, skill discretion, reward and meaning of work buffer the hampering effect of physical demands and work ability. No buffering effects were observed for support from superiors and colleagues. Conclusion. The present study has relevant, practical implications, highlighting the importance of investing in interventions encompassing a holistic perspective (e.g., psychosocial and ergonomic) in order to effectively combat the hampering effect of physical demands on work ability.

Source: Viotti, Sara, Martini, Mara, & Converso, Daniela. (2016). JOSE : International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics. 1-28.

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