Keyword

Sense of coherence, work stressors, family stressors, work-life balance, work-family benefits, workplace strategies.

Abstract

          Background: Not much information is available on the level of the sense of coherence (SOC) of the working population in South Africa. SOC is the disposition of an individual to accept strain as one of the factors that fosters growth and maturity. It develops from infancy through adolescence from the resources available to an individual and could deplete through stressors. Work stressors are those elements in the workplace that could result in harmful behaviour patterns and stress-aversive reactions. While family stressors are those elements in the domestic environment that engender strain and counterproductive behaviour in individuals.  
          Aim: The main aim of the article was to examine the association among SOC and work and family stressors among professional level employees in the South African Public Service. The objectives of this article are (1) to ascertain if the professional level employees investigated had strong or weak sense of coherence (SOC) and (2) To determine the effect of work and family stressors on SOC.
 Setting: The study was conducted among professional level employees and top management of a municipality in the South African Public Service.
           Methods: In this pragmatic, cross-sectional study design, a sample of 307 professional level employees born during the apartheid era in South Africa completed the 13-version Orientation to life Questionnaire (OLQ), work stressor and family stressor questionnaires as well as an elementary demographic questionnaire. Additional data was collected from the interview of 11 other top management members. 
          Results and conclusion: The findings refuted the claims that unfavourable environmental conditions could affect the development of a strong SOC in an individual by revealing that professional level employees at the South African Public Service generally had strong SOC. It further revealed that the respondents in comparison with the family stressors were experiencing much work stressors.  The findings have implications for workplace practices and management of work and family stressors. 


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