Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Pilot Study of the Psychological Factors in the Professional Health of Managers

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Pilot Study of the Psychological Factors in the Professional Health of Managers

Article excerpt


Today increasing efforts are being made to answer theoretical and applied questions regarding the health of a person at work The psychology of professional health has been actively developing in Russia and abroad (Christie & Barling, 2011; Houdmont, Leka & Sinclair, 2012; Leka & Houdmont, 2010; Maklakov, 1996; Nikiforov, 2006; Ponomarenko & Zavalova, 1994; Quick & Tetrick, 2010; Sinclair, Wang & Tetrick, 2013). Among the approaches to studying professional health in modern psychology are the psychology of stress in professional activity (Allen, 2002; Atkinson, 1994; Cooper, Cooper & Eaker, 1988; Lazarus, 1966; Selye, 1979; Vodopyanova & Starchenkova, 2005) and professional psychohygiene (Kulikov, 2004; Polyakova, 2008).

In 2011 at the Ananyevsky Readings Conference at the faculty of psychology of St. Petersburg State University the first roundtable on the psychology of professional health (PPH) was held. There were discussions on formulation of the concept of professional health (PH), criteria for and indicators of PH, and prospects for the development of PPH.

The trend toward strengthening attention to the field can be traced in the increasing number of publications. The main research problems and tasks in the sphere of scientific interests of PPH (some of which have already been resolved to some extent) are the following:

* definitions of the basic concepts of PPH -- especially PH itself -- and systematization of its criteria and indicators

* methods of diagnostics, assessment, and PH self-assessment

* psychological factors of PH

* psychological provision of PH (professional self-determination, preparation, adaptation, reliability and safety, longevity)

* stress in professional activity

* professional/emotional burnout and its prevention

* professional harms/diseases/risks and PH

* correction of professional psychoemotional intensity, prevention of professional poststressful frustration

* methodological bases of psychological forecasting of PH

* formation, preservation, and strengthening of PH

* morality of experts in the PH context

* PH in administrative activity

Prospects for the development of PPH depend on overcoming a disproportionate amount of research concerning the negative side of PH. In Western and Russian psychology about 70% of research is devoted to stress and professional burnout. In my opinion, it is necessary to increase the amount of research on questions with a positive orientation -- the psychological well-being of professionals, health preservation of professionals, satisfaction in a profession, etc. -- and also to develop a definition for professional health as now there is no one standard and satisfactory concept.

PH most often is understood as the property of an organism to keep a set of compensatory and protective mechanisms that provide working capacity in all conditions of professional activity (Ponomarenko & Zavalova, 1994). Professional restoration of psychophysiological functions according to the volume and type of professional work recognizes that good PH is a necessary condition for professional reliability and high performance. I thus offer the following definition: professional health is the ability of a person successfully to cope with the demands and requirements of a professional environment.

In my opinion, a psychological vision for resolving problems in PH has four basic provisions:

(1) As it is impossible to effect a complete elimination of the influence of negative factors on the health of a working person, it is necessary to look for ways of minimizing losses and reducing the negative influence of the professional environment on health.

(2) At the stage of hiring employees for an organization it is necessary to proceed from reasons of economic efficiency and an assessment of the estimated contribution of a worker to organizational affairs and to select people for a profession in which there are minimum contraindications for them. …

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