Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

A Causal Relationship of Occupational Stress among University Employees

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

A Causal Relationship of Occupational Stress among University Employees

Article excerpt

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Since 1997, there were many changes in the employer practices affecting the organization of work in both the developed and developing countries from economic crisis. Thailand being a developing country is of no exception in such economic crisis (1, 2). One of these changes has been often-repeated rounds of downsizing and restructuring by employers. Frequently related to other practices like outsourcing, contractual jobs, downsizing, restructuring job intensification, multi-tasking, and changes in management behavior at workplace have increased the level of job insecurity among employees (3- 5). Employees (e.g. nurses, lecturers, doctors, farmers etc.) had poor mental health (e.g. job stress, job insecurity, job condition, anxiety, burnout etc.) from downsizing /reorganization (611) and have sever health problems like stress linked to a heart attack (myocardial infarction), cardiovascular disease, stork, and autoimmune disease. Occupational stress is associated with cardiovascular disease, although, mechanisms of controlling them are ambiguous and needs further investigation (12).

In Thailand, both government and private sectors has been affected from the global economic crisis way back since 1997 (1). The Thai government efforts to downsizing/ and reorganizing of government sector is part of the intervention program as suggested by The International Monetary Fund (IMF). The new government university policies introduced in year 2000 about employment conditions, have affected the academic staffs in Government University. Policy "A Brain of Thailand" which is the academic staffs holding a Masters or Doctoral degree are required to sign a contract to work with the government universities between 6 month to 5 years with an inclusion of those who have taken the government scholarships and have to pay back in term of service period requirement. This policy has raised a stressed among the academic staffs in the government university. This also led into difference of social and health inequality in each of the government university at workplace in Thailand (13).

Occupational stress is a psychosocial dimension of occupational health concept on social determinants of health, especially, in job and environmental conditions (14- 17). University teaching has traditionally been regarded as a low stress occupation (18). Recently, universities staff network in Thai government universities have called the Higher Education Commission and Ministry of Education to resolve this issue and get them relief from government education policy (e.g. inequity salary, poor welfare, law, job and environment conditions etc.) which is leading towards job insecurity, physical and mental health problems of the employees from occupational stress (13).

Concept of this original article chose public health in field of occupational health. It focused on occupational stress dimension based on social determinants of health to investigate a causal relationship of occupational stress among the academic university employees in Thailand and examine each variables (job & environment condition, wage, family support, and periods of duty) on stress.

The operational definitions of this research consisted of job & environmental condition, periods of duty, family support, wage, and stress. Job & environmental condition means job tasks, job hours, job environments, welfare, job securities, and workload by using a 4-point Likert-type of scale of none, coded as 1 (least), 2 (less), 3 (more), and 4 (most). It is a social and environmental factor. A period of duty is an individual factor that calculated from number of working year among participants. Family support is a social variable to measure dimension of family support (e.g. adaptation, resolve, growth, affection, and partnership) by using the family APGAR questionnaire. Wage calculated from salary (baht /month). Stress used the summarized scores of the Suanprung stress test-20, which is a standard measurement from Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. …

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