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October 2021

Subjective health complaints: is coping more important than control?

Author(s): Ursin, H.

Journal/Book: Work Stress. 1999; 13: One Gunpowder Square, London EC4a 3de, England. Taylor & Francis Ltd. 238-252.

Abstract: The influence of psychological demands in a work situation on subjective health complaints has been investigated. A demand/coping model has been developed and compared with the traditional demand/control model. The new model is based on the notion that all stressors (loads) are filtered by coping (positive response outcome expectancies) and defence mechanisms (stimulus distortion) before they gain access to the response system. A total of 1060 employees (401 men mid 659 women) working in the Norwegian postal service filled out questionnaires on psychological demands, control, coping (Utrecht Coping List), job stress, and subjective health complaints (Subjective Health Complaint Inventory). Subjective health complaints were found to depend more on combinations of demands and coping than on demands and control. Individuals with high demands/low coping had most health problems, and chose with low demands/high coping had the lowest level. Individuals with high demands/high coping had high reports of job stress, but not high levels of health problems. Individual coping mechanisms were more important for subjective health than were organizational factors.

Note: Article Eriksen HR, Univ Bergen, Dept Biol & Med Psychol, Aarstadveien 21, N-5009 Bergen, NORWAY

Keyword(s): stress; coping; subjective health complaints; musculoskeletal pain; health symptoms; demand/control model; JOB STRAIN; WORK; STRESS; DISEASE

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