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Managers´ working conditions

stress and health

Peggy Bernin

Stockholm, Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap, Karolinska institutet, 2002, 110 s.
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

Stress and stress related diseases have increased during the recent years. Managers exert influence on employees and consequently managers' stress and health impact on the subordinates as well as on themselves. There are three study populations (n=288, n=344, n=5.185) on the basis of which five cross sectional studies have been performed. They constitute this thesis. Three questionnaires were used and for a smaller group blood tests were analysed. Comparisons were made between male and female managers, between managers and other working men and women and between managers in Sweden and managers in other nations. The main aim of the study was to survey Swedish managers' working conditions and to put these in occupational and international perspectives.

In study I the demand-control-support model was analysed. The results indicated that the organisational context is of considerable importance to the managers working conditions Managers reported higher psychological demands and intellectual discretion than other professional groups. Female and male managers did not differ with regard to the analysed variables. In study II managers' coping strategies were explored. Small differences were found between organisations. Coping behaviour which may increase illness risk was more common in female managers. In study 111 good social support was shown to be associated with "healthier" serum lipids. The results indicated that some of the factors were associated with high arousal levels. Variance analyses were used in study IV to compare managers stress and health conditions with those of a large group of white collar and blue-collar workers. The results confirmed that managers experience high demands and that female coping strategies differ from male. Female managers were found to have difficulties to relax from work. Managers reported large networks. This may have a positive health impact. Swedish managers reported high job satisfaction and good well-being compared to managers in 24 nations. They also reported a relatively high level of internal locus of work control compared to managers in other nations.

This study confirmed managerial high demands and high influence. Overall managers experienced healthy climate as well as good support at work. However, there was some evidence that particularly female managers may be vulnerable. The organisational context was suggested to contribute to differences between female and male managers with regard to "psychosocial risk behaviour".