Work characteristics and personal social support as determinants of subjective well-being.
e81115 - ?
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BACKGROUND: Well-being is an important health outcome and a potential national indicator of policy success. There is a need for longitudinal epidemiological surveys to understand determinants of well-being. This study examines the role of personal social support and psychosocial work environment as predictors of well-being in an occupational cohort study. METHODS: Social support and work characteristics were measured by questionnaire in 5182 United Kingdom civil servants from phase 1 of the Whitehall II study and were used to predict subjective well-being assessed using the Affect Balance Scale (range -15 to 15, SD = 4.2) at phase 2. External assessments of job control and demands were provided by personnel managers. RESULTS: Higher levels of well-being were predicted by high levels of confiding/emotional support (difference in mean from the reference group with low levels of confiding/emotional support = 0.63, 95%CI 0.38-0.89, p(trend)<0.001), high control at work (0.57, 95%CI 0.31-0.83, p(trend)<0.001; reference low control) and low levels of job strain (0.60, 95%CI 0.31-0.88; reference high job strain), after adjusting for a range of confounding factors and affect balance score at baseline. Higher externally assessed work pace was also associated with greater well-being. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the psychosocial work environment and personal relationships have independent effects on subjective well-being. Policies designed to increase national well-being should take account of the quality of working conditions and factors that facilitate positive personal relationships. Policies designed to improve workplaces should focus not only on minimising negative aspects of work but also on increasing the positive aspects of work.
AuthorsStansfeld, SA; Shipley, MJ; Head, J; Fuhrer, R; Kivimaki, M
- College Publications