Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2004) 39:576–580DOI 10.1007/s00127-004-0791-z
The working environment inmental health wards has been shown to have profound ef-fects on the health and work stability ofmental healthworkers.Despite an apparent need for regular measure-ment ofwork environment,development ofshort and re-liable instruments for such measurements has beenlargely neglected.The aim ofthe present study was toevaluate the psychometric properties ofthe Working En-vironment Scale-10 (WES-10).
During the pe-riod 1990 through 2000,a total of640 staffmembers on42 wards for psychotic patients completed the WES-10.To establish the number ofsubscales,a factor analysiswas carried out.The internal consistency ofthe subscaleswas calculated as Cronbach’s alpha.We also collected dataconcerning satisfaction with the ward,its patients andstaff,and for how long the respondents had worked andexpected to continue to work at the ward.
Weidentified four subscales named:SelfRealization,Work-load,Conflict and Nervousness.The psychometric prop-erties ofthe subscales proved to be acceptable.All thesubscales were significantly correlated with at least onesatisfaction item,and/or the time the staffexpected tocontinue at the ward.Most notably,the SelfRealizationsubscale was strongly correlated to general satisfactionwith the ward,and to the time the staffexpected to workon the ward in the future,while Conflict was strongly neg-atively correlated with liking for staff.
TheWES-10 appears to measure four clinically meaningfulsubscales.It seems well suited for use in further researchand for evaluation ofclinical milieus.
work environment – psychometrics – staff members – satisfaction – questionnaires
J.I.Røssberg · Ø.Eiring · S.Friis
Work environment and job satisfaction
A psychometric evaluation of the Working Environment Scale-10
Accepted:18 February 2004
S P P E 7 9 1
An extensive literature has been generated about the mi-lieu in which health professionals work and the impactit has on both mental and physical health [1–5].The po-tentially stressful nature ofmental health work has beenamply demonstrated.Several studies have reported ahigh level ofburnout and poor mental health amongpsychiatric staffmembers [6–11].A poor work environ-ment has proved to be associated with reduced job sat-isfaction,absenteeism,somatic complaints,burnout anddepression [12–17].It has been reported how a poorwork environment might influence the work perfor-mance negatively ,and promote negative and cyni-cal attitudes towards patients and colleagues .Apoor work environment is probably one ofthe main rea-sons for the high staffturnover rate [1,20,21] and poorinpatient satisfaction and outcome [22,23].Against this background,there is an obvious need forregular studies ofthe work environment on psychiatricwards.As pointed out by Burnard etal.,the workingenvironment should be regularly measured,as one way to measure service quality.Measures ofthe working en-vironment and job satisfaction may also be usefulbenchmarks for evaluating future changes and develop-ments in the psychiatric wards,and to monitor and im-prove the clinical working environment.To regularly study the working environment,we needan instrument that is clinically meaningful,easy to useand with acceptable psychometric properties.To be clin-ically meaningful,the instrument has to measure thecentral dimensions.Reviewing the literature,it seemsthat previous studies have identified three core dimen-sions named:Workload (Work pressure,Task require-ments) [2,21,24–26],Personal growth (Professionalgrowth,Support,Achievement value and growth) [14,21,26] and Conflict [2,25,27].Some studies come upwith additional dimensions like safety,role clarity,salary,work hazards,home-work conflict,professionalstatus and organizational issues [7,14,21,24,25].
) · Ø.Eiring,MD · S.Friis,MD,PhDDept.ofPsychiatry Ullevaal University Hospital0407 Oslo,Norway Tel.:+47-22/118370Fax:+47-22/117848E-Mail:email@example.com