The effects of social support at work on job demands, job control, depression, job performance, and absenteeism
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Depression is a growing issue in work stress research because work stressors are closely related to depression and depression, in turn, affects organizational loss. Considering such subsequent causal relationships within a work stress framework, some powerful and comprehensive source to prevent work stress is needed for worksite health promotion. It is well documented that social support at work has direct and indirect beneficial effects on the work stress framework. However, there have been few studies examining the comprehensive effects of social support on a work stress process and its outcomes. This study examined how social support affected workers’ depression and related organizational outcomes. The participants were 240 workers employed in a public hospital in Georgia. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to employees with their pay slips followed by eight reminders over a 20-day period. The response rate was 31%. The questionnaires asked about job demands, job control, social support at work, depression, job performance, absenteeism, and demographics. The social support construct was measured by who supported at work and what kinds of support were provided. Statistical analyses were conducted using the structural equation modeling approach in LISREL version 8.5. Social support at work was directly related to high job control, low depression, and high job performance. However, social support did not buffer the negative effects of work factors on depression and related organizational outcomes. By source of support, only organizational support was positively related to high job control. Organizational support was more effective than supervisor and coworker support by source of support. Any stressors and their outcomes were not different by what kinds of support they had at work. This result indicated that job control was influenced more by who supported them rather than what kinds of support they had at work and the most efficient source of support was organization. In summary, social support at work had positive effects on job control, depression, and job performance. Organizational support was a strong factor in improving workers’ perceived controllability on the job.
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