Coping with the imbalance between job demands and resources: A study of different coping patterns and implications for health and quality in human service work
2013 (English)In: Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1468-0173, E-ISSN 1741-296X, Vol. 13, no 4, 337-360 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In recent decades the public welfare sector has been subjected to major structural changes, and studies of various occupational groups within human service work have reported increased workload and a high prevalence of work-related stress. Using questionnaire data from a sample of human service workers within social work, child care and elderly care, the aim of this study was to identify different patterns of coping strategies to manage the imbalance between work demands and resources, and then to investigate their impact on outcomes in employee health and service quality. Findings: Cluster analysis identified three strategy profiles: compensatory and quality reducing, voice and support seeking and self-supporting, and the comparative analysis indicated that the compensatory and quality reducing cluster may be regarded as a risk group. Results of hierarchical regression analyses disclosed that the identified strategies affected health outcomes as well as perceived service quality. The use of compensatory and quality reducing strategies was negatively related to health and quality, although work demands, resources and background characteristics were controlled for. Applications: The results add to the research field through the identification of compensatory and quality reducing strategies not previously described in the coping literature, as well as the risks associated with them. Applied in practice, the identified strategy clusters might help distinguish risk behaviors' from more beneficial strategies. The results also point toward the importance of providing organizational structures that allow the employees to voice their opinions and critique, as well as to give and receive social support.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 13, no 4, 337-360 p.
Coping, employee health, human service work, job stress, service quality, social work
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92639DOI: 10.1177/1468017311434682ISI: 000321199700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-92639DiVA: diva2:641666