The Impact of Organisational, Social Environmental and Job Content Stressors on the Work Related Strains of Probation Officers

DOI10.1177/000486580103400207
AuthorChristine Stephens,Clare O'donnell
Date01 August 2001
Publication Date01 August 2001
SubjectArtical
The
Impact
of
Organisational,
Social Environmental and Job
Content
Stressors
on
the Work Related Strains
of
Probation Officers
Clare O'Donnell
New
Zealand
Department
of
Corrections
Christine Stephens
Massey
University,
New
Zealand
Inrecentyears workplace stress has been seen as an important occupa-
tional health and safety problem and probation officers in New Zealand
have been identified as suffering from increasing perceptions of stress.
Accordingly,
the
present
study was undertaken with a sample of
SO
New Zealand Probation Officers in three offices to examine the relation-
ship of
individual,
organisational and work stressors with work related
strains. It was predicted that work stressors would be positively related
to strains and that
individual
differences (e.g.,age
or
gender) would have
a moderating effect on the relationship between stressors and strains.
The results showed
that
stressors caused by organisational problems.
such as role boundary and overload,
were
related
to
strains.
more
strongly than job
content
problems. such as difficult clients. Secondly.
age may have a curvilinear relationship to strains. Thirdly.
the
office,
or
place of work. moderates the stressor strain relationship.
Stress.relat ed disorders have become the fastest growing occupational disease,
resulting in higher workers' compensation costs (Cornelius, 1994). Other direct
and indirect costs, borne by individuals, organisations and society as a whole,
of 'stressed' employees include increased sick leave, more work-related accidents
and decreased productivity. As well as the monetary costs, the personal costs
are high: depression, anxiety, substance abuse
and
heart
disease. Physical
and emotional well-being are also affected and therefore stress has an important
effect on employees' professional and personal lives. King, Beckett and Hanlon
(1989) suggestthat outcomes for probation officers in particular may include exces-
sive drinking, smoking, raised serum cholesterol and heart rate, depressed mood,
Address for correspondence: Dr.
Christine
Stephens ,School of Psychology, Massey
University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. E-mail C.V.Stephens@massey.ac.nz
THEAUSTRALIAN
AND NEW ZEALAND
JOURNAL
OFCRIMINOLOGY
193
VOLUME
34
NUMIlER.
2
2001
pp.193-203

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