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Unexplained physical symptoms in eight organizatons: individual and organizatonal analysis.

Schmitt-N; Colligan-MJ; Fitzgerald-M
J Occup Psychol 1980; 53(4):305-317
Factors contributing to the incidence of psychogenic illnesses were studied in eight commercial organizations. Questionnaires to collect data on work conditions, conflict variables, demography, family, interpersonal support, and income variables were administered to 826 workers in all eight organizations. In addition, all respondents indicated whether or not they experienced any of the 25 symptoms reported during illness outbreaks in their respective organizations. The most frequently reported symptoms were headaches, lightheadedness, dizziness, sleepiness, dry mouth, chest tightness, watery eyes, nausea and weakness. Almost half of all respondents reported some symptoms. Low but significant correlations were found between symptom variables, hours of overtime worked and the ability to refuse overtime. Symptoms were also significantly related to dissatisfaction with job security, promotions, salaries, work scheduling, decision making, and performance evaluations. Symptom frequency was associated with lower scores on peer cohesion, staff support, clarity of work role, physical comfort, innovation, and perceived increased work pressure. Women and people with children had a greater susceptibility. Women reported 1.64 more symptoms than men. The authors conclude that work to family conflicts were related to symptom frequency.
NIOSH-Author; Psychological-effects; Worker-health; Health-surveys; Workplace-studies; Demographic-characteristics
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Journal of Occupational Psychology