Does Job Satisfaction Mediate the Relationships Between Work Environment Stressors and Employee Problem Drinking?

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  • This article was downloaded by: [McMaster University]On: 21 October 2014, At: 12:16Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

    Journal of WorkplaceBehavioral HealthPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wjwb20

    Does Job Satisfaction Mediatethe Relationships BetweenWork Environment Stressorsand Employee ProblemDrinking?Lisa K. Berger a , Sonya K. Sedivy b , Ron A. Cisler c

    & Lorna J. Dilley da Helen Bader School of Social Welfare , Universityof Wisconsin , Milwaukeeb Department of Educational Psychology , School ofEducation, University of WisconsinMilwaukee ,c University of Wisconsin School of Medicine andPublic Health , University of WisconsinMilwaukee,and Aurora Health Care, Inc. , Milwaukee, Wisconsind Helen Bader School of Social Welfare , Universityof Wisconsin , MilwaukeePublished online: 11 Oct 2008.

    To cite this article: Lisa K. Berger , Sonya K. Sedivy , Ron A. Cisler & Lorna J. Dilley(2008) Does Job Satisfaction Mediate the Relationships Between Work EnvironmentStressors and Employee Problem Drinking?, Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health,23:3, 229-243, DOI: 10.1080/15555240802241603

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15555240802241603

    http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wjwb20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/15555240802241603http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15555240802241603

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    http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Does Job Satisfaction Mediatethe Relationships Between

    Work Environment Stressors andEmployee Problem Drinking?

    Lisa K. BergerSonya K. SedivyRon A. CislerLorna J. Dilley

    Lisa K. Berger is Assistant Professor of Social Work and Scientist in theCenter for Addiction and Behavioral Health Research (CABHR), HelenBader School of Social Welfare, University of WisconsinMilwaukee.

    Sonya K. Sedivy is a doctoral student in the Department of EducationalPsychology, School of Education, and CABHR Graduate Assistant,University of WisconsinMilwaukee.

    Ron A. Cisler is Associate Professor of Health Sciences, College of HealthSciences, and CABHR Scientist, University of WisconsinMilwaukee and isthe Director of the Center for Urban Population Health, University of Wis-consin School of Medicine and Public Health, University of WisconsinMil-waukee, and Aurora Health Care, Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Lorna J. Dilley is Assistant Director of the Center on Age andCommunity, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, University ofWisconsinMilwaukee.

    The authors would like to thank the local American Federation of State,County and Municipal Employees union officers and membership for theirparticipation in this study. The authors also would like to thank Michael J.Brondino for his statistical consultation, and Adam Lippert and JenniferHernandez-Meier for their technical and editorial assistance.

    This study was based upon the lead authors doctoral dissertation, whichwas supported in part by the Chancellors Golda Meir Scholarship, Univer-sity of WisconsinMilwaukee.

    Address correspondence to: Lisa K. Berger, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, P.O. Box 786, Milwaukee,WI 532010786 (E-mail: lberger@uwm.edu).

    Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, Vol. 23(3) 2008Available online at http://www.haworthpress.com# 2008 by The Haworth Press. All rights reserved.

    doi: 10.1080/15555240802241603 229

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  • SUMMARY. This study tested a mediation model of work environ-ment stressors, job satisfaction, and employee drinking status. Spe-cifically, decreased job satisfaction was examined as a mediator bywhich work environment stressors may be linked to employee alcoholproblems. Individual social vulnerabilities also were examined aspredictors of employee problem drinking. Study data were derivedfrom self-report mailed surveys, and study participants were union-represented administrative support and blue-collar maintenanceemployees of a large public urban university. Although path analysisresults did not support the role of job satisfaction in linking workenvironment stressors to employee problem drinking, several studyvariables of interest were found to be associated significantly anddirectly with employee problem drinking status. Implications forworkplace alcohol prevention are discussed.

    KEYWORDS. Alcohol, employees, job satisfaction, problem drink-ing, work stress

    INTRODUCTION

    As the workplace plays a significant role in American life, there isgood reason to believe that aspects of work environment may influ-ence employee drinking (Trice, 1992). In fact, employee alcohol usemay be influenced by the workplace in distinct ways. On the onehand, the workplace may help to prevent and treat employee alcoholproblems through workplace policies and programs. On the otherhand, the workplace may contain risk factors such as various workstressors that may influence employee problem drinking. Modelsexist such as Frones (1999) general work-stress paradigm thatexplain employee alcohol use as arising in part from factors in thework environment.

    According to Frones (1999) paradigm, work stress and work alien-ation factors may influence employee alcohol use. Work stressincludes factors such as heavy workload and interpersonal conflictwith coworkers and supervisors. Work alienation factors includework characteristics that are unfulfilling such as limited decisionmaking and the use of minimal skills. In the general work-stress para-digm, stress and alienation factors are treated generally as aspectsof work that may be perceived by employees as stressful in nature.

    230 JOURNAL OF WORKPLACE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

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  • The empirical evidence, however, that supports the relationshipsbetween work environment stressors and employee alcohol use issomewhat tenuous. For example, although job stress and work alien-ation have been found associated with employee drinking behavior,Roman and Blum (2002) report that many studies have found signifi-cant, but small, relationships between work stress and increased levelsof employee alcohol use. In the case of alienation, researchers suchas Seeman, Seeman, and Budros (1988) found an association betweenpowerlessness and problem drinking among employed men. How-ever, powerlessness in their study was measured as a generalized senseof personal mastery versus alienation specific to the workplace. Inaddition, much of the previous research in this area has relied onsimple cause-and-effect models; therefore, more complex modelsare needed to help better explain the existence, if any, of theserelationships.

    A theoretical framework that may be employed in such an effort isthe spillover model (Grunberg et al., 1998; Martin & Roman, 1996).This model posits that unrewarding job characteristics negativelyaffect employee psychosocial well-being, which then spills over toaffect behavior outside of work. According to Martin and Roman,because of the established connection between work characteristicsand corresponding levels of employee job satisfaction (see alsoShields, 2006), and because of the largely held belief that job dissat-isfaction can affect behaviors outside of work, the role of job satisfac-tion in explaining how work environment stressors are linkedto employee problem drinking is an important one to consider.

    In fact, some empirical evidence does support this intervening ormediating role. For example, Martin and Roman (1996) found thatamong employed adults decreased job satisfaction explained relation-ships between job stressor characteristics and employee problematicdrinking behaviors. Likewise, Greenberg and Grunberg (1995) intheir study of production workers found that decreased job satisfac-tion and drinking to cope explained relationships between severalwork alienation variables and employee problem drinking. Interest-ingly, the Greenberg and Grunberg and Martin and Roman studiesalso found an unexpected association between lower levels of alien-ation (as measured by higher levels of job autonomy) and employeealcohol problems. Although some empirical evidence exists to sup-port the mediating role of job satisfaction, few studies overall haveinvestigated this specific role.

    Berger et al. 231

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  • Therefore, based on Frones (1999) general work-stress paradigmand the spillover model (Grunberg et al., 1998; Martin & Roman,1996), the current analysis examined the relationships between workenvironment stressors, job satisfaction, and employee drinking statusby testing a hypothesized mediation model. Work and non-work-related individual social vulnerabilities found in previous studies tobe associated with employee problem drinking (e.g., Ames & Janes,1987) also were included in the model. To control for possible spuri-ous associations, the proposed model (see Figure 1) examined severalsociodemographic variables as statistical controls.

    METHOD

    Sample and Procedures

    This study employed a cross-sectional survey design. The studysample comprised union-represented Administrative Support Unit(ASU) and Blue Collar (BC) employees of a large, public urban uni-versity located in the Midwest. The sampling frame, which was a listof all represented employees, was supplied by the union local. The listcontained 630 employees and was stratified by occupational category(ASU or BC) and gender. With the exception of ASU women,employees in the other three strata were oversampled (i.e., a dispro-portionate stratified sampling plan) because of the relatively smallnumbers of employees in these groups. Half of the ASU women wereselected randomly whereas all employees from the three other strata

    FIGURE 1. Conceptual Model Relating Work Environment Stressors andJob Satisfaction to Employee Problem Drinking

    232 JOURNAL OF WORKPLACE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

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  • (ASU men, BC women, and BC men) were selected for studyinclusion, thereby resulting in a total sample of 466 employees selec-ted for study participation.

    Employees selected for participation were mailed a study survey totheir home address in the fall of 2003. Dillmans (2000) tailored designmethod for mail and Internet surveys was used to maximize surveyresponse rate. Dillmans method included a survey prenotice letterand other strategies such as a small financial incentive included withthe survey, and a second survey mailed to nonrespondents. Of the466 employees selected for study inclusion, 299 completed a useablesurvey, defined in this study as more than 80% completion of thesurveys 171 items, for a survey response rate of 64.2%.

    The respondent sample (n 299) was similar to the population(N 630) in terms of occupational category and gender with sampleproportions differing from population proportions by less than 2.5%.However, to correct for these small differences and to account for thedisproportionate stratified sampling plan, statistical weights wereassigned based on the population values of each stratum. Thisresulted in a weighted sample of 409 ASU and BC employees of which397 employees had complete drinking data. In addition, becauseemployees who were classified as abstainers would be unlikely touse alcohol to cope with work stressors, these individuals (n 132)were removed from the weighted sample for a final employee sampleof 265.

    ASU and BC employees have notably different roles and responsi-bilities. ASU employees are paraprofessionals who perform office-based administrative and secretarial work. BC employees performjanitorial and=or maintenance duties and are responsible for an entirebuilding or certain building floors. Despite these differences, bothgroups are represented by the American Federation of State, Countyand Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union. AFSCME is the largestpublic service employees union in the United States (AFSCME,2006). These pink- and blue-collar university employees were selec-ted for study participation because previous research has found thatalthough white-collar employees may drink more frequently, whenblue-collar employees do drink they may drink more problematically(Harford et al., 1992).

    Permission to conduct this study was obtained from the union localofficers and membership, and the appropriate Institutional ReviewBoard for the protection of human subjects approved this study.

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  • Measurement

    Measures utilized in this study have been employed in previousalcohol and workplace studies (e.g., Ames & Janes, 1987; Daveyet al., 2000; Martin & Roman, 1996; Rospenda et al., 2000). Eachmeasure is described below, and alpha reliability coefficients forcontinuous measures are reported.

    Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). The work environment stressorsof job stress and work alienation were measured by the validatedand reliable JCQ (Karasek, 1985; Karasek & Theorell, 1990).

    Job stress was measured by the JCQ Psychological Demands scale.This 5-item scale assesses the extent to which employees perceive theirjobs to involve excessive work, conflicting demands, not enoughtime to complete work, the need to work fast, and the need to workhard. The scales range is 1248 with higher scores indicating higherlevels of psychological demands (Karasek, 1985). Coefficient alphareliability was 0.74.

    Work alienation was measured by the JCQ Decisi...

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