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Social support at work and mental distress: A three-wave study of normal, reversed, and reciprocal relationships
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
Number of Authors: 42019 (English)In: Journal of Occupational Health, ISSN 1341-9145, E-ISSN 1348-9585, Vol. 61, no 1, p. 91-100Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: This longitudinal study aimed to investigate the causal relationships between social support at work and mental health in terms of mental distress. Despite assuming social support at work to be associated with less mental distress, reversed and reciprocal relationships were investigated as well.

Methods: Self-reports in questionnaires of social support and mental distress were collected longitudinally, with annual measurements over three consecutive years, among 301 office workers (57% women) in Sweden. Cross-lagged structural equation modeling was used to test the hypotheses.

Results: The reciprocal causation model was considered the best-fitting model. The results suggest that social support and mental distress influenced each other negatively, but with a delayed effect. Specifically, this involves Time 1 levels of social support being negatively associated with Time 2 levels of mental distress, while Time 2 levels of mental distress were negatively associated with Time 3 levels of support.

Conclusions: The findings partly align with the hypothesis that social support is related to lower levels of mental distress but also suggest that mental distress can reduce levels of social support. While the findings also suggest a mutual interrelation between social support and mental distress, this is not a consistent reciprocal causation. Rather, and due to the variation in reciprocity between time points, it appears to he a cyclical process, which needs further investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2019. Vol. 61, no 1, p. 91-100
Keywords [en]
longitudinal mechanisms, occupational health, support
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-165700DOI: 10.1002/1348-9585.12020ISI: 000456140400009PubMedID: 30698345OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-165700DiVA, id: diva2:1285597
Available from: 2019-02-04 Created: 2019-02-04 Last updated: 2019-03-08Bibliographically approved

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Sconfienza, CarolinaLindfors, PetraLantz Friedrich, AnnikaSverke, Magnus
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