Work wellness, sense of coherence and health of protection services members
Van der Linde, René
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The impact of change on organisations and the transforming role of the protection services member means that protection services members perform under more stress than members of almost any other profession. They are human and experience the same or sometimes more severe forms of depression, anxiety and other symptoms than other people. The objectives of this study were to determine the construct validity and internal consistency of the MBI-GS, UWES, OTLQ and Health subscales of the ASSET for protection services members. The relationship between work wellness, sense of coherence and health and the development of a model of work wellness for protection services members was determined. The research method consists of a literature review and an empirical study using a cross-sectional survey design to collect data. An availability sample (N = 341) from protection services members was taken. The Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey (MI-GS), Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), Orientation to Life Questionnaire (OTLQ), Health subscales of the ASSET and a Biographical questionnaire were administered. The statistical analysis was carried out with the help of the SPSS-programme and AMOS. The statistical methods utilised in the article consisted of descriptive statistics, Cronbach alpha coefficients, exploratory factor analysis, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and structural equation modelling methods. Exploratory factor analysis confirmed a two-factor model of work engagement, consisting of vigour/dedication and absorption. In previous research of protection services members, two factors in the MBI-GS could also be extracted, namely, burnout and professional efficacy. The MBI-GS and UWES both showed acceptable internal consistencies. Construct equivalence for different language groups was confirmed for the MBI-GS and UWES. Product-moment correlation coefficients showed significant negative correlations between Burnout and Vigour/Dedication, Burnout and Sense of Coherence, Sense of Coherence and Physical Health, Sense of Coherence and Psychological Health. There were significant positive correlations between Physical Health and Psychological Health, Professional Efficacy and Vigour/Dedication, Professional Efficacy and Absorption, Vigour/Dedication and Absorption and lastly Physical Health and Psychological Health. A causal model of work wellness was developed. The first two hypothesis were accepted: Work Wellness consists of Burnout and Work Engagement and high levels of burnout may result in either physical of psychological health problems. The third hypothesis was only partially accepted: the path coefficient from Sense of Coherence to Work Wellness and 111 Health is significant. Sense of Coherence partially mediated the impact of Burnout as part of Work Wellness on Ill Health. The path coefficient from Sense of Coherence to Ill Health was also found to be significant, indicating that higher levels of Sense of Coherence can result in fewer health problems. Recommendations for future research were made.