EFFECT OF OCCUPATIONAL STRESS ON EMPLOYEE PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL BEING: A CASE OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS IN HOSPITALS IN BARINGO COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT 
Occupational stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other demands placed on them. Its effects can lead to the loss of many man-hours that impact negatively on organizations and the economy of Countries. Although occupational stress is not an illness, it has grievous physical and emotional effects if it is intense or prolonged. The main objective of this study was to examine the effect of occupational stress caused by job stress factors, working relationships and physical working conditions on the psychological well-being of medical professionals in hospitals in Baringo County. The specific objectives of the study were as follows: To determine whether there were differences in occupational stress and psychological well-being on different job groups of medical professionals in hospitals; To determine the effect of job stress factors on employee psychological well-being among medical professionals in hospitals; To determine the effect of social relationships at the workplace on employee psychological well-being among medical professionals in hospitals; To determine the effect of the physical working conditions on employee psychological well-being in hospitals; finally to determine the combined effects of occupational stress factors (job stress factors, social relationships in the workplace and physical working conditions) on employee psychological well-being among medical professionals in hospitals in Baringo County. Stratified random sampling was used to select the respondents of the study forming a total sample of 164 employees. Data was collected using questionnaire method and data obtained was processed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used in data analysis; that is, Frequencies, means, standard deviation and Percentages which were presented in tables and charts. The results indicated only relationships with colleagues differ significantly based on the professional cadre of the respondents (p< 0.05) and insignificant relationship between job stress factors and psychological well-being (r = 0.058, p > 0.05).The study also found insignificant relationship between the physical working conditions and psychological well-being (r = -0.015, p > 0.05) and insignificant between social relationships and psychological well-being (r = -0.103, p > 0.05).The multiple regression analysis showed that the relationship with patients and their families, and relationship with colleagues were the only significant predictors of employee psychological well-being. The study recommends hospital management to create hospital social support systems in order to manage the social and psychological effects of work-induced stress on employees.

CHAPTER ONE 
INTRODUCTION 
Background to the Study 
Occupational stress refers to the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures that can lead to physical and/or emotional ill health (Rees, 1992). It has two major dimensions, namely, physiological stress and psychological stress (Ismail, Yao &Yunus, 2009). While physiological stress is caused by various stressful triggers at the workplace which cause reactions to the body such as headaches, migraines, abdominal pains, fatigue, heart palpitation, sleep disturbance as well as changes in eating, drinking, sleeping and smoking habits, psychological stress is as an emotional reaction to factors in the workplace that cause anxiety, depression, burnout, hostility, anger, irritability and frustration among others. 

Consequently, occupational stress impacts the health and psychological well-being of workers which affects their attitude to work, leads to high absenteeism, poor morale, high staff turnover, reduced efficiency and declining job performance (Brandy and Cox, 2002; Elliott & Daley, 2012). The issue of occupational stress has attracted the attention of organizational behaviourists due to the fact that various problems that employees face emanate from work place experiences (Akintayo, 2012). Extensive research has shown that medical personnel are the most vulnerable to stress in the workplace which would be attributed to the nature of their work that is widely acknowledged to be stressful, dangerous, and emotionally demanding (Jones, Janman, Payne, and Rick, 1987; Adu, 2004). 

Cox and Griffiths (1995) asserted that psychological ill-health are those aspects of the design, organization and management of work that have the potential to cause physical, psychological or social harm. This co-relates significantly with life events and daily activities such as financial situation, job performance, family conflict, schooling, death and other events. Sullivan, (1993) suggests that although the incidence of accidents is higher within medical officers, their potential to exhibit extreme levels of aggressive and disturbed behaviours are arguably greater. Medical professionals are often assumed to be at greater risk of occupational stress due to their constant exposure to disturbing social issues, and dealing with clients with extreme challenging behaviours, severe personality disorders, and enduring mental health problems (Thorpe, Righthand, & Kubick, 2001; Bowers, 2005). 

Studies have shown that the presence of non-occupational stress and occupational stress create strain in workers, and these influence their morale and psychological well-being negatively (Lester & Brower, 2001; Perdine, Bill & Clement, 1997). When the working environment is perceived to be conducive, there is less stress while psychological well-being is greatly enhanced (Dunhem, 1992; Parkes, 2002). In the United Kingdom, occupational stress is one of the greatest occupational health problems and is estimated to cost organizations four billion pounds annually in associated sickness and absentee costs (Gray, 2000). According to Decker and Webb, (1994) and Felton and Cole (2010) stressful work life was related to receiving psychiatric care, and that in the United Kingdom, the sum of incapacity for men suffering from psychoneurotic and personality disorder, nervousness, migraine headaches, and smoking accounted for 22.8 million work days lost. 

1.1.1 Health Care Services in Baringo County 
According to Baringo District Strategic Plan 2009 – 2018 (pg. 62), there are 184 health centres/facilities in addition to four (4) district hospitals and one (1) sub-district hospital in Baringo County. Getting to the hospitals in Baringo County in the northern Kenyan Rift Valley is hard because of the poor terrain and lack of road networks. The area is a pastoral zone characterized by nomadic lifestyle and insecurity and the patients hardly seek medical attention at the hospitals. The hospitals, on the other hand, according to the Annual Report (2012) of Kenya Aid, a local NGO, are ill-equipped and understaffed and many times lack essential drugs. Some of the hospitals do not have casualty department, enough wards, any surgical equipment, maternity theatres and fully fledged eye or dental units. Each of the public hospitals handles approximately 60 to 70 inpatients and 150 outpatients daily. 

In addition to the poor terrain, the dispensaries, health centres and clinics are scattered in the remote areas, thus discouraging the locals from seeking health services. Further, managing medical emergencies is a challenge since the hospitals lack ambulances while at the same time telephone network coverage is poor thus hampering communication with the hospitals. 
Although research has shown that stress has consequences to physical and psychological ill- health (Cooper, 1997) little is known about the role of occupational stress as a determinant of psychological well-being among medical professionals in the organization. It is for this reason that this study examined the effects of occupational stress on employee psychological well-being among medical professionals in hospitals in Baringo County.

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Item Type: Kenyan Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 72 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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