The meaning of work generates stress or well-being

    MONTREAL, Oct. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Meaningful work has vitamin effects on
the worker's mental health and encourages his commitment towards an
organization, while work without it promotes the onset of symptoms of stress,
and even distress. This is one of the findings of a study funded by the
Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST)
on the meaning of work, mental health and organizational commitment, whose
results have just been published in English.

    Positive or negative influence

    The team led by researcher Estelle Morin used questionnaires to collect
data from the personnel in four organizations: a hospital, a health and social
services centre, a research centre, and a consulting engineering firm. It
involved demonstrating that characteristics such as the work's usefulness and
moral rectitude, opportunities for learning and development, autonomy,
recognition, and the quality of human relationships were linked to the meaning
that people give to their work. The researchers also observed that work that
is seen as being useful to society and allowing learning is a factor that
affects people's perception of it. Other hypotheses relating to the positive
or negative impact of the meaning given to work on psychological well-being or
distress also emerged from the study.

    Ethical and moral problems

    The researchers developed a theoretical model that presents work
organization as a determinant of employees' health, their attitudes and their
performance. If a person perceives his work activities, the conditions in
which he does it and the relationships with his coworkers and his supervisor
in a positive light, he will tend to find meaning in his work and, as a
result, to feel good physically and psychologically about it. Conversely, if
his perception is negative, he will tend to consider that his work and the
environment in which he does it do not have meaning. As a result, the person
will present symptoms of stress or distress. The researchers also noted that
ethical and moral problems are a growing preoccupation in workplaces.
    For more details or to download the report:

For further information:

For further information: Estelle M. Morin, Professeur titulaire, HEC
Montréal, (514) 340-6376; Source: Communications Division, IRSST, (514)

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Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST)

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