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PsychosocialRisk and Health Profile Groups Among Early Career Psychologists and SocialWorkers.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7574-9679
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2018 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Both social workers and psychologists are exposed to emotionally demanding situations in their work life – even from early on. The focus of this paper falls on social workers who start their first position after their studies, and psychologists who start their first position after their one year of practical training, following completion of their studies. Early on in a new career would typically be when a new employee experiences the least ability to influence their work situation – for example whom they work with and what kinds of tasks they work on. Also, this may also very likely be the time such an employee is vulnerable if professionally isolated, at time when crucial skills and competences are formed – One is typically employed for one’s unique skills, but works with other professionals, with different skills sets. Lastly, how successfully one perceives oneself to have transitioned from academic to professional life may be an influencing factor.

A postal survey was sent to 5213 (respondents=2514, not target group=103, response rate 49%) psychologists and social workers in Sweden who had graduated within three years of the spring of 2017. In the analysis, graduated psychology students who had not yet reached independent registration as psychologist were excluded (Final sample=2224: 642 psychologists; 1582 social workers)

The central hypothesis was that emotional demands, perceived influence at work, and experienced isolation at work may contribute to burnout-related symptoms (as indicated by the dimensions of cognitive weariness and physical fatigue) among psychologists and social workers in the beginning of their careers. We set out to investigate a regression model where work-related variables relates to two dimensions of burnout (physical fatigue and cognitive weariness). The work-related variables were self-rated transition from studies to work, emotional demands, influence at work and professional isolation, and work-related psychological flexibility was considered as a moderator.

The results indicate that females and younger employees in general rated higher on physical fatigue (34% explained variance). Working as a psychologist vs. as social worker was not a significant predictor. In terms of the independent variables, a deemed-as-unsuccessful transition between studies and work (self-rated), high emotional demands, low influence at work, experienced isolation at work and lower psychological flexibility all made significant direct contributions to physical fatigue. No evidence of moderation was found.

Regarding cognitive weariness, the results (35% explained variance) show that females scored higher. Age and line of work were not significant predictors. In terms of the independent variables, a deemed-as-successful transition between studies and work (self-rated), higher emotional demands, lower influence at work, higher isolation at work and lower psychological flexibility all made significant direct contributions to cognitive weariness. A test of interaction showed that there is a positive relationship between cognitive weariness and isolation at work, for individuals who also score low on psychological flexibility.

Our results are informative for early career management of psychologists and social workers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152169OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-152169DiVA, id: diva2:1251845
Conference
The 13th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, 5-7 September, Lisbon – Portugal.
Available from: 2018-09-28 Created: 2018-09-28 Last updated: 2018-09-28

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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