Subscribe: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology - Vol 15, Iss 1
Preview: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology - Vol 15, Iss 1

Journal of Occupational Health Psychology - Vol 22, Iss 2

The Journal of Occupational Health Psychology publishes research, theory, and public policy articles in occupational health psychology, an interdisciplinary field representing a broad range of backgrounds, interests, and specializations. Occupational heal

Last Build Date: Wed, 24 May 2017 08:00:05 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

An examination of two positive organizational interventions: For whom do these interventions work?


Owing to the importance of employee psychological well-being for a variety of work- and non-work-related outcomes, practitioners and scholars have begun to broaden the scope of workplace well-being interventions by incorporating principles from positive psychology. Among such positive interventions, gratitude exercises have arguably emerged as the “gold standard” practice, with much research pointing to their effectiveness. However, existing workplace interventions lack a true (i.e., no intervention) control group, and effects have been observed for some—but not all—outcomes tested. Therefore, the purpose of this brief report was to conduct a concise but methodologically rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of 2 positive psychology workplace interventions in improving employee affect, and to examine potential moderators of intervention effectiveness. Ninety-two employees in a large social services agency were assigned to (a) a gratitude intervention, (b) an intervention in which participants alternated between the gratitude activity and one involving increasing social connectedness, or (c) a wait list control condition, for 1 month. Neither intervention produced a main effect on any of the 3 affective outcomes measured. However, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and job tenure were significant moderators of intervention effectiveness. We discuss the implications of these preliminary results in an effort to advance the literature on workplace positive psychology interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Cultivating teacher mindfulness: Effects of a randomized controlled trial on work, home, and sleep outcomes.


The effects of randomization to a workplace mindfulness training (WMT) or a waitlist control condition on teachers’ well-being (moods and satisfaction at work and home), quantity of sleep, quality of sleep, and sleepiness during the day were examined in 2 randomized, waitlist controlled trials (RCTs). The combined sample of the 2 RCTs, conducted in Canada and the United States, included 113 elementary and secondary school teachers (89% female). Measures were collected at baseline, postprogram, and 3-month follow-up; teachers were randomly assigned to condition after baseline assessment. Results showed that teachers randomized to WMT reported less frequent bad moods at work and home, greater satisfaction at work and home, more sleep on weekday nights, better quality sleep, and decreased insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness. Training-related group differences in mindfulness and rumination on work at home at postprogram partially mediated the reductions in negative moods at home and increases in sleep quality at follow-up. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Internet-based instructor-led mindfulness for work-related rumination, fatigue, and sleep: Assessing facets of mindfulness as mechanisms of change. A randomized waitlist control trial.


This study aimed to extend our theoretical understanding of how mindfulness-based interventions exert their positive influence on measures of occupational health. Employing a randomized waitlist control study design, we sought to (a) assess an Internet-based instructor-led mindfulness intervention for its effect on key factors associated with “recovery from work,” specifically, work-related rumination, fatigue, and sleep quality; (b) assess different facets of mindfulness (acting with awareness, describing, nonjudging, and nonreacting) as mechanisms of change; and (c) assess whether the effect of the intervention was maintained over time by following up our participants after 3 and 6 months. Participants who completed the mindfulness intervention (n = 60) reported significantly lower levels of work-related rumination and fatigue, and significantly higher levels of sleep quality, when compared with waitlist control participants (n = 58). Effects of the intervention were maintained at 3- and 6-month follow-up with medium to large effect sizes. The effect of the intervention was primarily explained by increased levels of only 1 facet of mindfulness (acting with awareness). This study provides support for online mindfulness interventions to aid recovery from work and furthers our understanding with regard to how mindfulness interventions exert their positive effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

The impact of employee assistance services on workplace outcomes: Results of a prospective, quasi-experimental study.


Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are widely used to help employees experiencing personal or work-related difficulties that impact work productivity. However, rigorous research on the effectiveness of programs to improve work-related outcomes is lacking. The current study represents a major advance in EAP research by using a prospective, quasi-experimental design with a large and diverse employee base. Using propensity scores calculated from demographic, social, work-related, and psychological variables collected on baseline surveys, we matched 156 employees receiving EAP to 188 non-EAP employees. Follow-up surveys were collected from 2 to 12 months post-baseline (M = 6.0). At follow-up, EAP employees had significantly greater reductions in absenteeism (b = −.596, p = .001) and presenteeism (b = −.217, p = .038), but not workplace distress (b = −.079, p = .448), than did non-EAP employees. Tests of moderation of baseline alcohol use, depression, anxiety, and productivity indicate that for the most part, the program works equally well for all groups. However, EAP did more to reduce absenteeism for those who began with lower severity of depression and anxiety at baseline. Results provide the scientific rigor needed to demonstrate EAP impact on improved work outcomes. In the first study of its kind, findings confirm the value of EAPs to help employees address personal and work-related concerns that are affecting job performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Mindfulness interventions in the workplace: A critique of the current state of the literature.


There is growing research interest regarding the significance of mindfulness in the workplace. Within this body of knowledge, research investigating the effects of mindfulness interventions on employee health and well-being has strong practical implications for organizations. A sound understanding of the current state of the workplace mindfulness intervention literature will help inform the suitability of these interventions within the workplace domain, and how to improve the conduct and communication of intervention-oriented research. Accordingly, in this article, we systematically review 40 published articles of mindfulness interventions in the workplace to identify ways in which these interventions could be improved, and how to overcome methodological concerns that threaten study validity. Studies selected for review were published peer-reviewed, primary empirical research studies written in English, with a focus on a workplace mindfulness intervention. We discuss a range of issues evident within this body of literature, including conceptualizations of mindfulness; the adaptation of protocols to work settings; internal validity in relation to random allocation and control conditions; the use of manipulation checks; attrition, adherence, acceptability, and maintenance of interventions; utilizing objective cognitive measures; examining organizational and well-being outcomes; and establishing boundary conditions. Overall, this review provides a resource to inform scholars to advance this line of inquiry and practitioners who are considering implementing a mindfulness intervention for employees. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

When does incivility lead to counterproductive work behavior? Roles of job involvement, task interdependence, and gender.


This research investigated the conditions under which exposure to incivility at work was associated with engaging in counterproductive work behavior (CWB). Drawing from stressor-strain and coping frameworks, we predicted that experienced incivility would be associated with engaging in production deviance and withdrawal behavior, and that these relationships would be strongest for employees who had high levels of job involvement and worked under task interdependent conditions. Gender differences in these effects were also investigated. A sample of 250 United States full-time employees from various occupations completed 2 waves (timed 6 weeks apart) of an online survey. Results indicate that employees with high job involvement were more likely to engage in production deviance and withdrawal behavior following exposure to incivility than were employees with low job involvement. The moderating effect of task interdependence varied by gender, such that the relationship between incivility and CWB was strengthened under high task interdependence for female employees, but weakened under high task interdependence for male employees. These findings highlight that certain work conditions can increase employees’ susceptibility to the impacts of incivility, leading to harmful outcomes for organizations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Family supportive supervisor behaviors and organizational culture: Effects on work engagement and performance.


Informed by social information processing (SIP) theory, in this study, we assessed the associations among family supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSBs) as perceived by subordinates, subordinate work engagement, and supervisor-rated work performance. Moreover, we explored the role of family supportive organizational culture as a contextual variable influencing our proposed associations. Our findings using matched supervisor–subordinate data collected from a financial credit company in Mexico (654 subordinates; 134 supervisors) showed that FSSBs influenced work performance through subordinate work engagement. Moreover, the positive association between subordinates’ perceptions of FSSBs and work engagement was moderated by family supportive organizational culture. Our results contribute to emerging theories on flexible work arrangements, particularly on family supportive work policies. Moreover, our findings carry practical implications for improving employee work engagement and work performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

All in the family: Work–family enrichment and crossover among farm couples.


This study expands upon the contextualization of the work–family interface by examining positive work–family experiences within the farming industry. Both individual and crossover effects were examined among a sample of 217 married farm couples. Results demonstrated multiple significant relationships between self-reported attitudes, work–family enrichment, and health outcomes. In addition, crossover effects reveal the importance of individual attitudes (husband work engagement and wife farm satisfaction) for spousal work–family enrichment and health outcomes. Furthermore, individual work–family enrichment was positively related to spousal psychological health and negatively related to spousal physical symptoms. Many of these findings remained significant after controlling for work–family conflict. Overall, our results suggest the potential beneficial impact of the integrated work–family dynamic associated with the farming profession for positive work–family experiences. Implications of these findings, as well as directions for future research, are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Zeigarnik’s sleepless nights: How unfinished tasks at the end of the week impair employee sleep on the weekend through rumination.


It is almost common sense that work stress leads to sleep impairment, but the question of how work-related stressors impair employee sleep remains open. This study focuses on the role of rumination as the underlying mechanism for sleep impairment. Specifically, the authors contribute to recent research differentiating affective rumination from problem-solving pondering and examine the impact of both forms of rumination on the stressor–sleep relationship. Following theories of rumination and the Zeigarnik effect, they focus on unfinished tasks as a key onset for rumination. Unfinished tasks have received much research attention in the memory context but have been neglected as a stressor that can impact recovery. Drawing on theory, differential indirect links between unfinished tasks and sleep through affective rumination versus problem-solving pondering are examined. Further, the number of unfinished tasks extending over a 3-month period may impair employee sleep more than unfinished tasks within the acute phase. In this study, intraindividual links in a diary study supplemented by depicting between-person effects of unfinished tasks over a period of 3 months are examined. The authors matched 357 Friday and Monday observations over a 12-week interval for 59 employees. The results of the multilevel analysis suggest that the within-person relationship between unfinished tasks and sleep is mediated by affective rumination. Although problem-solving pondering was negatively related to sleep impairment, the indirect effect was not significant. Finally, beyond the acute effect, the authors found higher levels of unfinished tasks over 3 months are related to increased sleep impairment on the weekend. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

To tell or not to tell? Examining the role of discrimination in the pregnancy disclosure process at work.


Despite the rapid entrance of women into the workforce over the past several decades, many workplace experiences unique to women remain poorly understood. One critical, yet understudied, area is the intersection of work and pregnancy. Because pregnancy remains concealable for a substantial amount of time, expectant employees must navigate decisions regarding to whom, when, and how to disclose their pregnant identities at work. In light of evidence that has suggested pregnancy is often stigmatized within the workplace, I employed a retrospective longitudinal design to explore the extent to which women’s expectations about discrimination—anticipated discrimination—shape their pregnancy disclosure behaviors, and the extent to which these different behavioral strategies are associated with higher or lower experienced discrimination. I also examined the link between pregnancy disclosure strategies and psychological distress. Taken together, findings suggest that pregnant employees’ expectations about pregnancy discrimination play a role in shaping disclosure behaviors at work. Furthermore, certain behavioral strategies for pregnancy disclosure were linked with average reports of experienced discrimination and momentary reports of psychological distress. I also discuss theoretical and practical implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)