Intrapersonal and extrapersonal factors in stressor perceptions, coping and strain among NHS staff
There is considerable debate about the optimal methods to be taken in measuring work
related stressor-strain links. This study has explored these issues by testing a two-factor
approach of assessing occupationally and organisationally linked stressors. The
discriminant validity of the Job Stress Survey (JSS; Spielberger & Vagg, 1999) was
tested in this study. 1,050 employees from seven National Health Service (NHS) Trusts
were examined to evaluate the degree to which JSS subscales of Job Pressure and Lack
of Organizational Support differentiated between staff experiences of occupational and
organisational stressors respectively.
Support for the discriminant validity of the JSS was obtained with inter-occupational
differences in Job Pressure when comparing between the seven NHS staff groups
surveyed. By contrast, staff subjected to major organisational change were more likely
to report high levels of Lack of Organizational Support than those not facing such
change. The satisfactory discriminant validity of the JSS has general implications for
stress prevention and management. Workers in occupations prone to high occupational
stress could benefit from targeted stress management interventions, whereas endemic
organisational stress could be more effectively tackled with an organisation-wide focus.
MIS workers' degree of Neuroticism appeared to bias links between stressors and
strains. Also, when compared with low-ranking and high-ranking staff, middle-ranking
workers had the highest levels of stressor experiences and the lowest job satisfaction.
As a result, future research and interventions should consider the role of Neuroticism
and occupational seniority, as these variables significantly influenced NHS employees'
stress experiences. It is also recommended that research into workplace stress should
involve the statistical control of Neuroticism. By neglecting the crucial role of
Neuroticism, researchers may be ignoring the full extent to which this personality trait
may distort the true link between a stressor and subsequent strain.