Working conditions and employee psychological health

Loh May Young
Workplace safety and health issues are always discussed by both the researchers and practitioners. However, more often this is related to the physical aspects of safety features such as injuries, accidents, musculoskeletal disorders and chemical exposure. What is lacked of attention is the psychological aspects of occupational health issues. In fact, work stress is the second top complaints among the employees. For several decades, scholars, particularly from the Western counterpart has put in some effort to understand the promotion and protection of workers’ psychological well-being. The role of organizational context has been regarded as one of the important distal factors for the occupational health issues. As such, psychosocial safety climate (PSC) as being defined as the shared perception of the employees towards the policies, practices and procedures of an organization in regard to the psychological health is found to be the crucial element for the occupational safety prevention intervention.

Recently a paper was published in Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (Tier 1 ISI journal) entitled “Psychosocial safety climate as a moderator of moderators: Contextualising the JDR model and emotional demands effect”, by Loh and colleagues. Ms Loh was supervised by Assoc Prof Awang Idris and Dr Marzuki Isahak for her Master degree. This is a collaborative project with University of South Australia, Adelaide. They investigated the role of PSC as a contextual moderator of the relationship between working conditions and employee psychological health. To be more specific, this paper reveals the moderating effect of PSC towards the relationship of emotional demands on employees’ somatic symptoms and emotional exhaustion. By using hierarchical linear modelling, authors found that the level of PSC of a team is playing a crucial role in reducing the detrimental effect of emotional demands at workplaces. This is because PSC acts as a passageway which allows resources to be linked with each other and creates a resource caravan. Resource caravan is useful in alleviating the evitable demands and boosting personal development. By creating a pro-social environment, high-level of PSC could help workers in utilizing, accumulating and bolstering the resources available. Hence it protects workers from being suffering from emotional exhaustion and somatic symptoms.

Written by Loh May Young

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