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Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2005;38(1): 25-37.
Epidemiology of Psychosocial Distress in Korean Employees.
Sei Jin Chang, Sang Baek Koh, Myung Gun Kang, Bong Suk Cha, Jong Ku Park, Sook Jung Hyun, Jun Ho Park, Seong Ah Kim, Dong Mug Kang, Seong Sil Chang, Kyung Jae Lee, Eun Hee Ha, Mina Ha, Jong Min Woo, Jung Jin Cho, Hyeong Su Kim, Jung Sun Park
1Department of Preventive Medicine and Institute of Occupational Medicine, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Korea. kohhj@wonju.yonsei.ac.kr
2Department of Preventive Medicine, Chosun University College of Medicine, Korea.
3Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Pochon CHA University, and Kumi Cha Hospital, Korea.
4Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Pusan University College of Medicine, Korea.
5Department of Preventive Medicine, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Korea.
6Department of Preventive Medicine, Chungnam National University College of Medicine, Korea.
7Department of Preventive Medicine, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Korea.
8Department of Preventive Medicine, Dankuk University College of Medicine, Korea.
9Department of Psychiatry, Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital, Korea.
10Department of Family Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Korea.
11Department of Preventive Medicine, Konkook University College of Medicine, Korea.
12Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Korea.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the magnitude of psychosocial distress and examine eligible factors associated with the development of psychosocial distress in Korean employees, using a nationwide sample. METHODS: A total of 6, 977 workers were recruited from 245 companies. A structured questionnaire was used to assess sociodemographics, health-related behaviors, job characteristics, social support at work, personality traits (locus of control, type A behavior pattern), self-esteem, and psychosocial distress. RESULTS: The results showed that 23 % of workers were categorized as high stress, 73% as moderate, and 5% as normal. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed that psychosocial distress was more common in younger workers, both male and female. Regular exercise was negatively associated with increase of psychosocial distress. In job characteristics, as expected, low decision latitude, high job insecurity, and low social support at work were related to high psychosocial distress. Personality traits such as locus of control and type A behavior pattern, and self-esteem were more powerful predictors of psychosocial distress than general characteristics, health-related behavior, and job characteristics. There were some gender differences. While men who are less educated and single (unmarried, divorced, and separated) experienced higher levels of psychosocial distress than those who are educated and married, women who feel high job demand experienced higher levels of psychosocial distress than those who feel low job demand. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of the high stress group was higher than expected, and psychosocial factors like social support and personality characteristics (e. g. locus of control, type A behavior pattern and self-esteem) were more significant factors for psychosocial distress than other variables. This finding suggests that some psychosocial factors, especially inadequate social support, low self-esteem and lack of internal locus of control for the development of psychosocial distress, will also operate as an intervention strategy in the worksite stress reduction program. It is strongly required that worksite stress reduction programs should be established in at both occupational and level as well as in individual levels.
Key words: Stress; Epidemiology; Social support
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