Psychosocial factors determining mental health of employees in a South African University
Mogale, Koketjo Kgomotlokoa Christinah
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The aim of the study was to examine employment status, duration of employment and work stress as psychosocial factors determining mental health of employees in a South African university. The study focused on four hypotheses: (1) Employment status will influence mental health of employees;(2) Employees with long and short term working duration will be different in mental health; (3) Work stress will influence mental health of university employees and lastly (4) There will be an interaction between status of employment, duration of employment and work stress on mental health of university employees. The research was conducted with North-West University (Mafikeng campus) employees. A questionnaire with three sections -A, B, and C was used to collect data. Section A comprised the demographic characteristics of participants, the second section (B) encompassed the Work Stress Inventory (WSI) used to measure work stress, and lastly section C comprised the General Health Questionnaire Scale (GHQ-28) used to measure mental health. Psychometric properties of all the scales used are valid and reliable and questionnaires were analysed using SPSS 23 . Two hundred and fourteen (214) participants were selected using convenience sampling and snowball sampling. Of the 214 participants, one hundred and three (103) were male and one hundred and eleven (111) were female. Age of participants ranged from 20 to over 50 years with a mean age (M =40.8, SD = 10.8). The years of employment ranged from 1 to over 10 years, with the mean years at (M = 8.7, SD = 8.5). The study included support and academic staff, temporary and permanent employees and different employment ranks. All the four hypotheses were tested using a 2x2x2 Analysis of Variance (AN OVA). The first hypothesis examined the influence of employment status on mental health of employees. As shown in Table 1, results were not significant; F(l , 206) = 1.714, p =.192. iv I Page Although, the result did not reach an acceptable level of significance, a look at the mean shows that temporary staff members had higher scores (M= 30.546) on psychological dysfunctions than permanent staff members (M=26.321 ). Results from the second hypothesis (Table 1) revealed that there was a significant difference; F(l , 206) = 7.855, p = .006 for duration of employment on mental health; whereby employees with a short term duration of employment (M=23.911) reported better mental health than those with long a duration of employment (M=32.956). The third hypothesis which examined the effect of work stress on mental health of university employees revealed that employees with low work stress (M=22.765) reported better mental health than those with high work stress (M=34.102); F(l , 206) = 12.340, p = .001. This implies that work stress has an influence on the mental health of university employees. The fourth hypothesis examined whether there would be an interaction of three independent variables (status of employment, duration of employment and work stress) on mental health. This hypothesis was however rejected as the results showed no interaction effect of the independent variables on mental health; F (1 , 206) = 3.156, p = .077. The fourth hypothesis did not show any interaction of employment status, duration of employment and work stress on mental health with .05 level; F (1 , 206) = 3.156, p = .077; but almost near significance at the .05 level In conclusion, the study contributed to the growing body of research about mental health in the workplace by providing a link between psychosocial factors ( employment status, duration of employment, work-stress) and mental health of university employees in a South African university. It was noted that work stress and duration of employment are linked with poor mental health of university employees. Therefore employee wellness practitioners need to develop intervention strategies to assist in improving the mental health of employees.
- Humanities