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Testing Karasek’s Demands-Control Model in Restructured Healthcare Settings: Effects of Job Strain on Staff Nurses’ Quality of Work Life

Spence Laschinger, Heather K. PhD, RN; Finegan, Joan PhD; Shamian, Judith PhD, RN; Almost, Joan MscN, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: May 2001 - Volume 31 - Issue 5 - p 233-243

Background Job strain among staff nurses has become an increasingly important concern in relationship to employee performance and commitment to the organization in current restructured healthcare settings.

Objectives The purpose of this study was to test Karasek’s Demands-Control Model of job strain by examining the extent to which the degree of job strain in nursing work environments affects staff nurses’ perceptions of structural and psychological empowerment, work satisfaction, and organizational commitment.

Method A predictive, nonexperimental design was used to test these relationships in a random sample of 404 Canadian staff nurses. Karasek’s Job Content Questionnaire, the Conditions of Work Effectiveness Questionnaire-II, Spreitzer’s Psychological Empowerment Questionnaire, Meyer and Allen’s Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, and the Global Satisfaction Scale were used to measure the major study variables.

Results Nurses with higher level of job strain were found to be significantly more empowered, more committed to the organization, and more satisfied with their work.

Conclusions Support for Karasek’s Demands/Control theory was established in this study.

Heather K. Spence Laschinger, PhD, RN, Professor and Associate Director Nursing Research,, School of Nursing,

Joan Finegan, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario,

Judith Shamian, PhD, RN, Executive Director of Nursing Policy, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Joan Almost, MscN, RN, Lecturer, School of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario.

Funded by SSHRC Extramural Grants Program Grant #410-93-0611.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.