Occupational health research round-up: March 2018

This month’s crop of occupational health research papers includes a study showing the value of exercising mindfulness at work, the role of counselling in tackling sedentary behaviour, and the occupational health risks of nanotechnology.Mindfulness acts as stress bufferExercising mindfulness at work and home buffers the negative relationship between workplace demands and psychological detachment after work. This is one of the findings of a diary-based study of the stressor-detachment model. According to this model, emotional and workload demands at work should be associated with decreased psychological detachment after work, which in turn is associated with lower wellbeing at bedtime. The study demonstrates the buffering role of daily mindfulness within the stressor-detachment model and highlights the value of considering mindfulness in both the work and home setting: “promoting mindfulness both in the work and home domain can help employees psychologically detach from work despite high job demands”, the authors conclude.V C Haun et al. “Being mindful at work and at home: buffering effects in the stressor-detachment model”,, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, published online 7 January 2018.Evidence-based practice and management.

Most managers are positive about the concept of evidence-based practice (EBP) but do not apply it due to a lack of time and a limited understanding of the scientific research with which they are presented. These are the findings of a survey of 2,789 managers in Europe, the USA and Australia; the survey commentary also concludes that relatively little research exists on the use of EBP in management, especially when compared with medicine and nursing professions.E Barends et al. “Managerial attitudes and perceived barriers regarding evidence-based practice: an international study,” PLOSOne, published online 3 October 2017.Customer mistreatment of employeesThe positive intervention of human resources (HR) practitioners, for example, by offering training to employees in customer-facing roles, can help protect these staff from the effects of verbal abuse and other customer mistreatment, according to this study of 730 service sector employees. Mistreatment by customers (including verbal abuse) was less likely to be related to emotional exhaustion in those teams where employees were provided with more opportunities to participate at work, the study finds. The authors suggest that the job demands-resources model might provide an overarching framework to understand the role of HR management practices in reducing the impact of customer mistreatment.

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