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October/November 2015 (vol. 12/3)

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Research Plus

Management style affects health at work

Supervisor behaviours can alter the risk of workers developing musculoskeletal and psychosomatic symptoms and should be included as part of OH risk assessments, suggests research from the 2010 European Working Conditions Survey. Data were analysed from 32,770 working-age people. Workers’ psychosocial and physical working conditions, depression and anxiety symptoms, age and gender, along with five supervisor behaviours and gender, were analysed for their impact on musculoskeletal symptoms, stress, fatigue and general health. Supervisor behaviour accounted for a significant amount of the observed variance in several self-reported health outcomes. Effect sizes were small, though of the same order of magnitude as known occupational risk factors, such as time pressure or lack of job control. The largest effects were: supervisors’ conflict resolution skills on reducing upper-body musculoskeletal symptoms (OR = 0.79; CI 0.73–0.86); and poor supervisor support increasing the risk of backache (OR = 1.15; CI 1.12–1.18).

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 2015; online first: doi: 10.1007/s00420-015-1072-8

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Occupational Health at Work October/November 2015 (vol. 12/3) pp33