Project: What is a good job?

Peer reviewed and published

This project was submitted on 21/01/2014, published on 27/01/2011 by IOSH, and peer reviewed by IOSH

The research described in this report addressed the question of the relationship between work, wellbeing and health. Extensive research has examined the effects of negative job characteristics but recent approaches suggest that the question of what job characteristics are good for health should be addressed. Following this, it is then necessary to compare the importance of different factors and integrate this knowledge so that one can determine the relative balance of adverse versus beneficial effects of different types of work. The project used a variety of methods to address these issues. Throughout the different stages of the research a ‘process’ model was used that distinguished job characteristics (both positive and negative), appraisals of the impact of these characteristics (eg perceived stress at work or job satisfaction) and reports of negative and positive mental and physical health. A review of the literature showed that far less is known about positive aspects of work than about the effects of no work or unfavourable working conditions. Secondary analyses of large databases suggested that in many cases the absence of negative factors and the presence of positive factors were equivalent. However, there were exceptions to this, which suggested that further data collection was desirable. Studies of individual differences in coping styles suggested that positive coping (eg problem-focused coping) was more beneficial than negative coping (eg emotion-focused coping). The major new data collection involved a cross-sectional study of established workers and a small scale study of those starting work. The results from the established workers study showed that the best predictor of positive health outcomes was the total score of positive job characteristics and positive job appraisals. Further analyses identified a number of subcomponents (eg the direct effect of job characteristics that do not require positive appraisals) but none of the individual components had the same impact as the combined score. The data on new starters revealed consistent findings despite the small number of participants. Overall, the present results show that this is a tool that can identify whether the nature of a person’s job is going to have a positive or negative impact on their health and wellbeing. The components of this measure can then be used to identify which factors need to be addressed in order to maximise the benefits and remove possible negative aspects of work.

www.iosh.co.uk/goodjob
What is a good job.pdf
Human factors & behavioural safety, Occupational health & wellbeing
Agriculture, Aviation and Aerospace, Chemical, Construction, Education, Engineering, Entertainment and Leisure, Environmental and Waste management, Finance, Fire, Food and Drink, Healthcare, Local Authorities, Manufacturing, Media, Nuclear, Offices, Offshore, Other, Public Sector, Quarrying / Mining, Railway, Retail, Telecommunications, Transport

Organisation: Cardiff University

University
Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology
School of Psychology
63 Park Place,
Cardiff,
CF10 3AS,
UK
029 2087 4000

Principal Investigator: Professor Andrew Smith BSc PhD

Other Researchers: Emma Wadsworth BSc PhD, Katherine Chaplin BSc PhD,
Paul Allen BSc and George Mark BSc MSc PhD

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