Relationships between work outcomes, work attitudes and work environments of health support workers in Ontario long-term care and home and community care settings
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BACKGROUND: Our overarching study objective is to further our understanding of the work psychology of Health Support Workers (HSWs) in long-term care and home and community care settings in Ontario, Canada. Specifically, we seek novel insights about the relationships among aspects of these workers' work environments, their work attitudes, and work outcomes in the interests of informing the development of human resource programs to enhance elder care. METHODS: We conducted a path analysis of data collected via a survey administered to a convenience sample of Ontario HSWs engaged in the delivery of elder care over July-August 2015. RESULTS: HSWs' work outcomes, including intent to stay, organizational citizenship behaviors, and performance, are directly and significantly related to their work attitudes, including job satisfaction, work engagement, and affective organizational commitment. These in turn are related to how HSWs perceive their work environments including their quality of work life (QWL), their perceptions of supervisor support, and their perceptions of workplace safety. CONCLUSIONS: HSWs' work environments are within the power of managers to modify. Our analysis suggests that QWL, perceptions of supervisor support, and perceptions of workplace safety present particularly promising means by which to influence HSWs' work attitudes and work outcomes. Furthermore, even modest changes to some aspects of the work environment stand to precipitate a cascade of positive effects on work outcomes through work attitudes.