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Work-attributed stress


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In the Dutch legislation is written that the employer must establish a policy to prevent and reduce stressors that causes stress. Named stressors are: aggression & violence, bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and workload. Workload has a very broad definition, namely: all quantitative and qualitative aspects of the workplace. Symptoms of stress are tension, depressed, mental fatigue and exhaustion that cause health complaints. The definition of psychosocial risk in the workplace has led to a new approach. Work-attributed stress is offering a new perspective to understand stress in the work situation. Philosophical the approach is based on the idea that the psychological phenomena work-attributed stress is the indivisible whole of a symptom of stress and stressor(s) on which the symptom is attributed. The given holistic definition of work-attributed stress (sheet 4) has implications, not only theoretical but also for the way of measurement. The interview-method (Signaleringsmethode werkdruk) and the questionnaire (Vragenlijst werkdruk) are operationalizitions of the theoretical model how work-attributed stress can be measured.

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Work-attributed stress

  1. 1. Work-attributed stress drs. Leo de Jong, work & organisation psychologist Expertise center of the Dutch labour inspectorate Arbeidsinspectie Ministerie van Sociale zaken en Werkgelegenheid
  2. 2. <ul><li>Program </li></ul><ul><li>Law and what is work-attributed stress </li></ul><ul><li>Operationalization of work-attributed stress </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewmethod (2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Questionaire (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Inspection-project junior medical specialist </li></ul><ul><li>Future </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The employer must establish a policy to prevent and reduce stressors that causes stress. </li></ul><ul><li>Stressors: aggression & violence, bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and workload </li></ul><ul><li>Workload: quantitative and qualitative aspects of the workplace (very broad definition) </li></ul><ul><li>Stress: tension, depressed, mental fatigue and exhaustion </li></ul>Dutch law
  4. 4. work- attributed stress symptoms of stress stressors Work- attributed stress
  5. 5. <ul><li>Interviewmethod (Signaleringsmethode werkdruk) </li></ul><ul><li>Instrument only to indentify if psychosocial risk is a major problem in the object of inspection (a group or a team) </li></ul><ul><li>Inspection time 2 hours: 1,5 hour for 3 interviews and 0,5 hours for introduction and law enforcement </li></ul><ul><li>Law enforcement, if there is a problem, company have to investigate wider and deeper the risk and make a plan </li></ul><ul><li>From 2001: ≈800 companies and involved 2400 employees </li></ul><ul><li>Instrument is reliable and valid, but only if the inspector is trained </li></ul><ul><li>Inspectors follow a one day training to learn the interview-skills </li></ul>
  6. 6. Topic-chart for the interview Work content Contacts Major events Quantity worktasks Heaviness worktasks Work pace Irregular working times Breaks or leave Overtime
  7. 7. <ul><li>Questionnaire (Vragenlijst werkdruk) </li></ul><ul><li>Instrument for wider en deeper investigation of the risk on different organisational levels and also for sector level </li></ul><ul><li>Total time for an inspection 2 hours (backoffice 1 h. and 1 h. inspection) </li></ul><ul><li>Survey can be don with a webapplication (that is the best way) </li></ul><ul><li>Very fast reporting, because report is automatically generated with the statistical analysis </li></ul><ul><li>The method can also be used to measure the effectiveness of the intervention on workplace-level, simpel by a second measurement </li></ul><ul><li>From 2006: 200 teams (135 companies) were inspected and involved 2800 employees </li></ul><ul><li>Instrument is very reliable and valid </li></ul>
  8. 8. Symptoms of stress Stressors
  9. 9. <ul><li>Example inspection-project ‘Junior medical specialist’ </li></ul><ul><li>Questionaire (Vragenlijst werkdruk) </li></ul><ul><li>24 stress-symptoms </li></ul><ul><li>14 stressors </li></ul><ul><li>Also 21 questions about health complaints </li></ul><ul><li>And 2 questions about absence by illness days </li></ul><ul><li>30 hospitals and 1142 employees in the project </li></ul><ul><li>Law enforcement, if the risk was too great and there was not an adequate policy, the hospital had to make a plan to reduce the exposure by tackling the detected stressors with specific measures </li></ul><ul><li>And offcourse, we made agreements on sector level </li></ul>
  10. 10. Research and inspection model
  11. 11. Stress-symtoms and stressors Frequency score stress-symptoms Effectsize stressors R-square = 0,75
  12. 12. Health-complaints and stressors Score health complaints Effectsize stressor R-square = 0,28
  13. 13. illness-day and stressors Absence days by illness Logits stressors R-square = 0,06 (normal statistical model)
  14. 14. Future 1. Perfecting the model: not only job-demands but also measuring control of the employee on the working place. 2. More inspections, not only important to solve the risk, but it gives opportunities to investigate what measures are the best. 3. So, investigate the effects of the interventions. We can learn a lot! 4. With a webapplication we can partly inspect on distant shore, that gives new opportunities for the inspectorate and also for inspectors. 5. Management of change have to and can be further developed.
  15. 15. Thanks for your attention Questions?