Psychosocial hazards at work and alcohol abuse among Prison Service officers in Poland

  • K. Orlak


Background: Although there are many papers on prison officers’ stress, they hardly refer to a specific work-related stress model or use screening instruments to assess adverse health effects. Purpose of this study was to examine which components of psychosocial work environment contribute to excessive drinking among Polish Prison Service officers. Material and method: To explore health impact of occupational stress Demand-Control-Support model was applied. The data were collected from 455 prison officers from all over Poland. Psychosocial working environment was measured with Psychosocial Working Conditions and officers’ drinking status was screened with Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). The health impact of job strain was estimated with logistic regression (based on the likelihood ratio for the model) . The hypothesis was that prolonged exposure to hazardous psychosocial working environment contributes to excessive drinking. Results: Correlations between AUDIT result, seniority, Control and Support were statistically important. The model predicted 5,5% of hazardous drinking and 7,3% of harmful drinking. The predictors of hazardous drinking were Control (OR 0,30 – 0,85; CI 95%), seniority on the job (OR 0,87-0,98; CI 95%) and seniority in Prison Service (OR 1,04-1,14; CI 95%). Harmful drinking was predicted by Control (OR 0,01 – 0,41; CI 95%) and job strain (interaction between Demands and Control). Conclusions: Job strain may be a risk factor for alcohol abuse among prison officers and the time of exposure matters. Low Control group is at elevated risk. Job adaptation seems to be preventive. Other factors, i.e. temperament, shall be included in further studies.
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