Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 3 Issue 4 (November 1993), Pages fmi-fmi, 235-342

Individual, group and agency strategies for coping with job stressors in residential child care programmes (pages 313-324)


This article describes job stressors experienced by workers in residential child care programmes, and coping strategies undertaken by individual workers, their co‐workers and their organizations. It also examines the associations of stressors and problem‐focused and emotion‐focused coping strategies at each level with four measures of job attitudes and distress. Stressful job circumstances and coping responses were coded from transcripts of in‐depth, open‐ended interviews with 82 male and female child care workers employed by 14 residential child care agencies. Job attitudes and distress, assessed with standard Likert‐style scales, served as dependent measures in regression analyses. Stressors unique to human service work, although frequently mentioned, were generally less potent predictors of distress than were stressors that are common to other professions, such as lack of agency support. Coping efforts by co‐workers and by agencies made substantial contributions to individual well‐being, above and beyond the rather weak effects of individual coping efforts. It appears useful to extend theories of individual coping to group and organizational strategies, especially in job situations, where many stressors are beyond individual control.

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