OPEN Research Support
head

PhD-student
Jesper Pihl-Thingvad
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Odense University Hospital


Projekt styring
Projekt status    Sampling ongoing
 
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.03.2016  
Slut 31.01.2019  
 



Everyday violence: Under what conditions does occupational violence become harmful to mental health?

Short summary

The project will investigate whether differences in nature and frequency of occupational violence affects the impact on mental health.

The project will also investigate to what extend the psychosocial work environment and coping strategies either contributes to or protects against the negative effects of occupational violence on mental health.


Rationale

Occupational violence is an increasing problem in service and healthcare and has been shown to have negative consequences to the mental health. However Occupational violence has a broad definition ranging from aggressive verbal behavior to life threatening and lethal attacks. The negative effects of workplace violence is not only dependent on the violent act itself but also on factors of the work environment, the individual experience of the employee as well as his or hers coping strategies. Although there is a consensus on workplace violence being harmful to the mental health, there are still only a few studies that investigate the causal mechanism between occupational violence and mental health problems.

Further Knowledge is needed on when and under which circumstances occupational violence is harmful to the mental health. This is due to the need of better preventive measures and organizational strategies to improve working conditions and mental health of employees in the healthcare and service professions

The aim of this project is to investigate:

  • If frequency, severity and type of occupational violence is significant for the risk of developing mental health problems?
  • If specific factors of the psycho- social work environment mediates the effects of occupational violence on mental health?
  • If specific experiences of violence and coping strategies mediates the effects of occupational violence on mental health?
  • If psycho- social work environment factors affect the employee's experience of violence and coping strategies?


Description of the cohort

The cohort is comprised of specialized social workers working with disabled adults, recruited from the National Union of Specialized Social Workers. One year prevalence of occupational violence in this profession is between 30-45 %. Currently, about 11.500 members of the National Union of Specialized Social Workers work with disabled adults. The entire population is represented in the cohort.

The cohort can be seen as a marker for other healthcare and service professions. The core objective of the profession of "specialized social workers" is care of patients and clients who are not able to sustain a daily life without help from professionals. The types of violence reported in this profession are similar to the types of violence reported in professions such as eldercare and psychiatric departments. Additionally, the profession of "specialized social workers" also entails long-term relations with both clients and their relatives.

Cohort of 11.500 respondents and an expected response rate of 30 pct. (3.500) finishing both baseline and follow up. 


Data and biological material

Survey data will be collected at baseline and at 12 months follow up. The survey is comprised of already validated items on:

  • Mental health: PTSD, burnout, general psychological distress, level of workability.
  • Work environment: quantitative and emotional demands. Role conflict, role ambiguity, skill discretion and decision authority, meaning at work, reward, and horizontal/vertical workplace social capital, quality of management, bullying and sexual harassment.
  • Subjective experience and coping: Regret-coping, Trauma coping self-efficacy, training in handling violence, experience of legitimacy and blame of workplace violence, feeling of security at work, 
  • Background data: Nationality, age, gender, family/marital status, type of employment, work seniority, education, general health, BMI, use of alcohol, pain and exercise.

Survey data will also be collected monthly for 12 months through sms-track on:

  • Exposure to threats
  • Exposure to violence differentiated in types and frequencies
  • Evaluation on severance of threats and violence
  • Primary emotional response after exposure to threats and violence
  • Level of stress


Collaborating researchers and departments

Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Odense University Hospital and the National Center of Psychotraumatology, department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark

  • PhD-student and Clinical Psychologist Jesper Pihl-Thingvad

National Center of Psychotraumatology, Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark

  • Professor and Head of Center Ask Elklit, PhD

Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Odense University Hospital and Research Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Clinical Institute, University of Southern Denmark

  • Associate professor Head of Departments Lars Brandt, MD, PhD

 National Research Centre for the Working Environment

  • Professor Lars L. Andersen, MSc, PhD

Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen

  • Professor Annie Høgh, PhD