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Are lay theories of work stress related to distress? A longitudinal study in the British workforce

Rydstedt, LW; Devereux, J; Furnham, AF; (2004) Are lay theories of work stress related to distress? A longitudinal study in the British workforce. WORK STRESS , 18 (3) 245 - 254. 10.1080/02628370412331323906.

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Abstract

The potential stressfulness of an event may depend on how it is appraised by the individual, although up to now there have been no longitudinal studies on the relationship between lay beliefs concerning work stress and perceived strain. This longitudinal study examines how lay theories of work stress at baseline were related to perceived mental strain at follow up. The present paper builds on an earlier study (Furnham, 1997), using a longitudinal design and a much larger population of the British workforce (N = 2270). Lay beliefs were assessed by a scale consisting of 36 items. Factor analysis gave a solution with five factors on perceived causes and four factors of perceived alleviation of work stress. Linear multiple regression analysis revealed significant relations between lay beliefs of work stress at baseline and perceived mental strain as well as job stress 14 months later. The effect sizes were small but of a similar magnitude to those that have been found, for example, in occupational stress-reducing interventions. A problem with the factor analytic approach was the discrepancies between the factor solutions and the relative importance of the perceived causes of work stress. The results from the study Suggest that subjective beliefs about work stress merits further analysis as potentially mediating between 'objective' working conditions and stress outcomes.

Type: Article
Title: Are lay theories of work stress related to distress? A longitudinal study in the British workforce
DOI: 10.1080/02628370412331323906
Keywords: factor analysis, lay beliefs, lay theories, meaning of work stress, work stress, SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/97497
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