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Individual and organizational psychosocial predictors of hospital doctors’ work-related well-being

A multilevel and moderation perspective

Teoh, Kevin R.H.; Hassard, Juliet; Cox, Tom

doi: 10.1097/HMR.0000000000000207
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Background: The high prevalence of burnout and depression among doctors highlights the need to understand the psychosocial antecedents to their work-related well-being. However, much of the existing research has been atheoretical, operationalized a narrow measurement of well-being, and predominantly examined such relationships at the individual level.

Purpose: This study uses a multilevel perspective to examine individual (i.e., job demands and resources) and organizational-level psychosocial predictors of three measures of work-related well-being: perceived stress, presenteeism, and work engagement. The job demands–resources theory underpins the postulated relationships.

Methodology: The 2014 National Health Service Staff Survey was analyzed using multilevel modeling in MPlus. The data set involved 14,066 hospital-based doctors grouped into 157 English hospital organizations (i.e., Trusts).

Results: Congruent with job demands–resources theory, job demands (workplace aggression and insufficient work resources) were stronger predictors of perceived stress and presenteeism than job resources. Equally, job resources (job control and manager support) were generally stronger predictors of work engagement than job demands. At the organizational level, bed occupancy rates and number of emergency admissions predicted work engagement. No hypothesized individual or multilevel interactions were observed between any of the job demands and resources.

Practical Implications: The findings emphasize that a broader perspective of work-related well-being among hospital doctors should be employed and the empirical value of examining such relationships from a multilevel perspective. Successful health intervention should target the appropriate antecedent pathway and recognize the role of organizational-level factors when trying to manage hospital doctors’ work-related well-being.

Kevin R. H. Teoh, PhD, is Lecturer in Organizational Psychology, Department of Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom. E-mail: k.teoh@bbk.ac.uk.

Juliet Hassard, PhD, is Assistant Professor in Occupational Health Psychology, Centre for Organizational Health and Development, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.

Tom Cox, PhD, is Professor in Occupational Health Psychology and Management and Centre Director, Centre for Sustainable Working Life, Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom.

Earlier variants of this paper were presented at the European Association of Physician Health Conference in Paris, France (April 15–24, 2017), and the Work, Stress and Health Conference in Minneapolis, USA (June 7–10, 2017). This paper originated from a funded PhD studentship from the Department of Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck University of London, United Kingdom.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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