The self-reported well-being of employees facing organizational change: effects of an intervention.
The objective of this study was to investigate the self-reported well-being of employees facing organizational change, and the effect of an intervention. It was a controlled intervention study. Subjects were allocated to study and control groups, and brief individual counselling was offered to the subjects in the study groups. Questionnaire measures were administered before and after counselling (a 3-month interval), and non-counselled subjects also completed questionnaires at the same times. The setting was 15 estate offices in an urban local authority Housing Department. Subjects comprised the total workforce of the Housing Management division: 193 employees, male and female, aged 22-62 years, facing compulsory competitive tendering between 1994-97. Main outcome measures were baseline and comparative measures of psychological morbidity, including the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Occupational Stress Indicator (OSI). Questionnaire response rates were 72% and 47% on first and second occasions respectively. The uptake of counselling was 37%. In comparison with (1) the UK norms for the OSI and (2) the norms for a similar occupational group, this group of workers were under more work-related pressure and their self-reported health was markedly poorer. They were not however at a disadvantage in terms of coping strategies. Those accepting the offer of counselling were subject to greater levels of work stress, had poorer self-reported health and markedly lower levels of job satisfaction than those who did not. Questionnaire scores were not significantly different before and after counselling, giving no evidence of treatment effects on symptomatology. However, almost all subjects rated counselling as having been extremely helpful. This study suggests that adverse effects on staff facing organizational change may be ameliorated by improved management practice. (+info)
The role of psychological and biological factors in postinfective gut dysfunction.
BACKGROUND: Both psychological and physiological disturbances have been implicated in the aetiopathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). AIMS: To investigate how the psychological factors act, and the involvement of infective and physiological factors. METHODS: Consecutive patients hospitalised for gastroenteritis reported life events for the previous 12 months, and past illness experiences on standardised questionnaires. They also completed psychometric questionnaires for anxiety, neuroticism, somatisation, and hypochondriasis. In some patients, rectal biopsy specimens were obtained during the acute illness and at three months postinfection. RESULTS: Ninety four patients completed all questionnaires: 22 patients were diagnosed with IBS after their gastroenteritis (IBS+), and 72 patients returned to normal bowel habits (IBS-). IBS+ patients reported more life events and had higher hypochondriasis scores than IBS- patients. The predictive value of the life event and hypochondriasis measures was highly significant and independent of anxiety, neuroticism, and somatisation scores, which were also elevated in IBS+ patients. Rectal biopsy specimens from 29 patients showed a chronic inflammatory response in both IBS+ and IBS- patients. Three months later, specimens from IBS+ patients continued to show increased chronic inflammatory cell counts but those from IBS- patients had returned to normal levels. IBS+ and IBS- patients exhibited rectal hypersensitivity and hyper-reactivity and rapid colonic transit compared with normal controls, but there were no significant differences between IBS+ and IBS- patients for these physiological measurements. CONCLUSION: Psychological factors most clearly predict the development of IBS symptoms after gastroenteritis but biological mechanisms also contribute towards the expression of symptoms. (+info)
Does psychological intervention help chronic skin conditions?
The objective of the study was to assess the impact of psychological/psychiatric assessment in patients with chronic or intractable dermatological conditions. A diagnostic interview was undertaken in order to pin-point any temporal connection between an adverse life-event and the first appearance of the skin disorder. Following this, the dermatologist's assessment of subsequent changes in the skin disorder were noted. The three main dermatological diagnoses were atopic eczema (10), prurigo (10), and psoriasis (nine). Follow-up was for up to 5 years. A favourable response was noted in 40 out of the 64 patients who participated in the study; this was usually evident within a few weeks and maintained thereafter. Remission was achieved in 12, while 28 showed some improvement. We conclude that this liaison between dermatology and psychiatry proved a valuable adjunct to normal dermatological treatment and was followed by improvement in the majority of patients. (+info)
Physical abuse during pregnancy: prevalence and risk factors.
BACKGROUND: Violence during pregnancy is a health and social problem that poses particular risks to the woman and her fetus. To address the lack of Canadian information on this issue, the authors studied the prevalence and predictors of physical abuse in a sample of pregnant women in Saskatoon. METHODS: Of 728 women receiving prenatal services through the Saskatoon District public health system between Apr. 1, 1993, and Mar. 31, 1994, 605 gave informed consent to participate in the study and were interviewed in the second trimester. Of these, 543 were interviewed again late in the third trimester. During the initial interview, information was collected on the women's sociodemographic characteristics, the current pregnancy, health practices and psychosocial variables. The second interview focused on the women's experience of physical abuse during the pregnancy and during the preceding year, the demographic characteristics and the use of alcohol or illicit drugs by their male partner. RESULTS: In all, 31 (5.7%) of the women reported experiencing physical abuse during pregnancy; 46 (8.5%) reported experiencing it within the 12 months preceding the second interview. Of the 31 women 20 (63.3%) reported that the perpetrator was her husband, boyfriend or ex-husband. Although all ethnic groups of women suffered abuse, aboriginal women were at greater risk than nonaboriginal women (adjusted odds ratio 2.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-7.8). Women whose partner had a drinking problem were 3.4 times (95% CI 1.2-9.9) more likely to have been abused than women whose partner did not have a drinking problem. Perceived stress and number of negative life events in the preceding year were also predictors of abuse. Abused women tended to report having fewer people with whom they could talk about personal issues or get together; however, they reported socializing with a larger number of people in the month before the second interview than did the women who were not abused. INTERPRETATION: Physical abuse affects a significant minority of pregnant women and is associated with stress, lack of perceived support and a partner with a drinking problem. (+info)
Job stressor-mental health associations in a sample of Japanese working adults: artifacts of positive and negative questions?
To examine whether positive and negative components of mental health were differently related to job stressors and life events, correlational analyses were conducted using data for the GHQ-12 and some scales of the NIOSH Generic Job Stress Questionnaire collected from 765 workers in Japan. Six positive items and six negative items of the GHQ-12 were summed up for positive and negative components of mental health (GHQ-POS, GHQ-NEG). The GHQ-POS was significantly correlated with only positively-oriented job stressors. The GHQ-NEG was significantly correlated with only negatively-oriented job stressors. Most correlations were significantly different between GHQ-POS and GHQ-NEG. This correlation pattern resulted in smaller, but significant, correlations between job stressors and the GHQ-12. These results may reflect "measuring similarity" due to item-wording. Detailed inspection suggested that GHQ-POS and GHQ-NEG, as well as positively- and negatively-oriented job stressors, were not attributable only to positive affectively or negative affectivity, respectively. Work-related events showed higher correlations with all mental health variables than their job stressors' counterparts. For females, mental health variables were seldom correlated with job stressors, but significantly correlated with life events. These results might indicate the superiority of "event-type stress measure" as compared to perceived rating scale in assessing job stressors. Further direction was discussed. (+info)
High stress responsivity predicts later blood pressure only in combination with positive family history and high life stress.
High cardiovascular responsivity to stressors has not consistently improved prediction of later blood pressure increases beyond the predictive effects of baseline pressure. Animal models suggest that genetic susceptibility to hypertension and frequent stress exposure are important modulating factors in stress-related hypertension. Thus in 103 men originally tested at age 18 to 22 years and reassessed 10 years later, interactive effects of genetic susceptibility (defined as 1 or more hypertensive parents) with high stress responsivity (defined as top 25% on the basis of blood pressure and cardiac responses during both reaction time and cold pressor tasks) were examined in relation to follow-up systolic and diastolic levels and to change in blood pressure status from normal (diastolic<80 mm Hg) to marginally elevated (diastolic 85 to 95 mm Hg). Men with the combination of high stress response and hypertensive parents demonstrated higher systolic (P<0.05) and diastolic levels (P<0.05) at follow-up, and they showed a 7-fold increase (7.5, 95% confidence intervals 2.3, 24.3; P<0.001) in relative risk of change in blood pressure status versus men with no family history and a 3-fold increase (3.8, confidence intervals 1.5, 9.6; P<0.004) versus less stress-responsive men who also had hypertensive parents. In 65 men who also provided ratings of daily stress, family historyxstress responsivityxdaily stress interactions were significant in predicting follow-up systolic and diastolic levels (P<0.006 and 0.03, respectively), with highest pressure levels seen when high life stress was reported by high stress responders and/or men with hypertensive parents. In conclusion, results suggest that stress responsivity as a long-term predictor is modulated by both genetic and environmental factors. (+info)
Posttraumatic stress in children following acute physical injury.
OBJECTIVE: To prospectively assess the presence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children hospitalized following acute physical injury. The focus was identification of the incidence of PTSD, PTSD symptoms, and exploration of factors associated with development of PTSD symptoms and disorder. METHOD: Forty children ages 8-17 were interviewed approximately 1 month following a serious injury and assessed for PTSD, pretrauma behavior problems, levels of peritraumatic fear, and posttraumatic thought suppression. RESULTS: Twenty-two and a half percent of participants met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for PTSD; 47.5% met criteria for at least two of the three PTSD symptom clusters. Greater thought suppression was associated with increased symptoms of PTSD, as were the child's peritraumatic fear response and pretrauma internalizing behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that many children who have been hospitalized for physical trauma may be experiencing clinically significant PTSD symptomatology and may benefit from psychological as well as medical intervention. (+info)
Adversity and psychosocial competence of South African children.
Black children in South Africa commonly experience low socioeconomic status and community violence. Parents (N = 625) in a longitudinal study of urbanization responded to structured questionnaires related to resilience, affability, maturity, and school readiness of their six-year olds. SES was found to have an inverse and linear relation to competence at age six; the relationship to violence was curvilinear, with children from moderately safe communities achieving better outcomes than those from very safe or very unsafe ones. (+info)