Psychosocial work environment of hospital workers: validation of a comprehensive assessment scale.Int J Nurs Stud. 2007 Jul; 44(5):814-25.IJ
Studies have shown that adverse workplace factors can increase the risk of ill-health in hospital workers, but more comprehensive measures of the psychosocial work environment are needed.
To test a comprehensive and theory-based psychosocial work environment questionnaire and analyze associations with mental health in a sample of Danish hospital workers.
DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS
Questionnaire-based cross-sectional study with 343 female employees from a large Danish hospital, including patient care workers (nurses, nurse assistants, midwives) and laboratory technicians.
The psychosocial work environment was measured with 14 scales from the Copenhagen psychosocial questionnaire, version I, covering three main areas: demands at work, work organization and interpersonal relations at work. We further measured self-rated mental health and sociodemographic and employment characteristics of the participants. Cronbach's alphas, analyses of covariance, one-sample t-tests, partial correlations and linear regression models were used to analyze data.
Of the 14 work psychosocial workplace scales 12 showed a satisfactory internal consistency (alpha>0.70). Patient care workers had more quantitative, emotional and cognitive demands (all p-values <0.001), higher work pace (p<0.001) and more role conflicts (p=0.01) than laboratory technicians, but also better work organization, including more influence at work, better possibilities for development and a higher meaning of work (all p-values <0.001). Both patient care workers and laboratory technicians had substantially higher scores on the demand scales and lower scores on the influence at work scale than the general Danish working population. Further analyses showed that high levels of demands at work and low levels of work organization and problematic interpersonal relations at work were associated with lower self-rated mental health.
The Copenhagen psychosocial questionnaire is a suitable instrument to measure the psychosocial work environment of hospital workers. The comprehensive assessment of the psychosocial work environment helps tailoring interventions to the specific needs of different occupational groups.