Abstract: Do Health and Social Care Workers Experience Work-Life Conflict? Testing the Moderating Role of Work Schedule Control and Work Demands Amongst Hospital Clinicians (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Do Health and Social Care Workers Experience Work-Life Conflict? Testing the Moderating Role of Work Schedule Control and Work Demands Amongst Hospital Clinicians

Sunday, January 15, 2023
South Mountain, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Akanksha Anand, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Research Scientist, Columbia University, New York, NY
Kenrick D. Cato, PhD, Assistant Professor and Nurse Researcher, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University, New York, NY
Jenny Castillo, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine Department, Columbia University, New York, NY
Elaine Congress, PhD, Associate Dean and Professor, Fordham University, New York, NY
Stan Kachnowski, PhD, Director, Digital Health Strategy Program and Chair at HITLAB, Columbia University, New York, NY
Background: Stress in human service agencies is at alarming levels amongst frontline clinicians1,2,3,4. With COVID-19, the environments for health and social care workers in emergency rooms are increasingly challenging with high work demands, emotional demands, and time pressures leading to unfavorable health and well-being outcomes 4,5,6,16,17. Continuous exposures to difficult situations contribute to stress, work-life conflict, emotional exhaustion, and burnout13,14. Despite known detrimental effects of these work and life stressors resulting in high conflict leading to burnout, very few studies have examined how to schedule control and environmental factors could reduce work-life conflict 4,6,7,10. Theoretically, Conservation of Resources (COR)8 and the nosocomial model of stress9 in hospitalization work environment explains how employees are experiencing stress could potentially acquire, maintain, and conserve resources to reduce conflict contributing to burnout. These resources could be time, energy, and support, which could mitigate the adverse effects of stress on employees' wellbeing 8,9. Previous researchers argue that providing schedule control with competing work demands to employees could act as a buffer against work-life stressors10,24. Therefore, we hypothesized the following: -

  1. There will be a positive and significant main effect of work demands on work-life conflict,
  2. There will be a negative and significant main effect of schedule control on work-life conflict, and
  3. A significant negative two-way interaction on work-life conflict.

Methods: A cross-sectional study surveyed 260 frontline hospital clinicians serving clients or patients with trauma at a large hospital located in New York City (55% response rate) in 201918. Cronbach's alphas for the study measures were above the expected cut-off, and one measure was at (α =.78) 11,12,13,22. Discriminant and construct validity was established using maximum likelihood estimation and varimax rotation. Aiken and West21 procedures were followed to test the hypotheses using the hierarchal moderated multiple regression analysis in SPSS 26 25,19,20,21. No items cross-loaded on another factor. Finally, no violations of OLR regression were noted.

Results: Support was found for all three hypotheses. Significant negative main effect was found for schedule control over one's work11 (β = -1.49, p < .05) and positive main effect of work demands12 (β = 3.08, p < .05). The interaction effect of schedule control over one's work and work demand (β = -1.38, p < .05) on work-life conflict13 was significant. The two-way interaction reports a variance of 26% in the final model, which is relatively higher than a typical interaction effect.

Conclusion and Implications: Findings contribute to the health and social service workers literature by being the first known empirical study of clinicians working in emergency departments of a hospital setting. The research shows scheduling control's buffering effects on the relationship between work demands and work-life conflict. Job control over one's schedule allows team employees to be discrete and flexible to switch from one task to another 23. This ability to operate allows employees not to drain their resources but increases engagement. Employees' control over planning, deciding, and executing duties is associated with higher job satisfaction and reduced conflict 10,23.