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Employee stress management: An examination of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies on employee health

Employee stress management: An examination of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies on employee health

Work 53(2): 299-305

Employees commonly report feeling stressed at work. Examine how employees cope with work and personal stress, whether their coping strategies are adaptive (protective to health) or maladaptive (detrimental to health), and if the manner in which employees cope with stress influences perceived stress management. In this cross-sectional study, a random sample of 2,500 full-time university non-student employees (i.e. faculty, salaried professionals, and hourly non-professionals) were surveyed on health related behaviors including stress and coping. Approximately 1,277 completed the survey (51% ). Hierarchical logistic regression was used to assess the ability of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies to predict self-reported stress management, while controlling for multiple demographic variables. Over half of employees surveyed reported effective stress management. Most frequently used adaptive coping strategies were communication with friend/family member and exercise, while most frequently used maladaptive coping strategies were drinking alcohol and eating more than usual. Both adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies made significant (p < 0.05) contributions to predicting employee's perceived stress management. Only adaptive coping strategies (B = 0.265) predicted whether someone would self-identify as effectively managing stress. Use of maladaptive coping strategies decreased likelihood of self-reporting effective stress management. Actual coping strategies employed may influence employees' perceived stress management. Adaptive coping strategies may be more influential than maladaptive coping strategies on perceived stress management. Results illustrate themes for effective workplace stress management programs. Stress management programs focused on increasing use of adaptive coping may have a greater impact on employee stress management than those focused on decreasing use of maladaptive coping. Coping is not only a reaction to stressful experiences but also a consequence of coping resources. Thereby increasing the availability of resources in the workplace to facilitate the use of adaptive coping strategies is necessary for successful stress management and, ultimately, healthier employees.

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Accession: 057759005

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PMID: 26409388

DOI: 10.3233/wor-152145

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