Strain symptoms and work ability – a challenge for the public dental health service
The Public Dental Health Service (PDHS) in Sweden is challenged by increasing sickness rates, difficulties in recruitment and an expected high staff turnover due to upcoming retirements. The aim of this study was to describe and compare self-rated health and strain symptoms for different work areas and occupational groups among dental care staff and to analyse associations between strain symptoms, effective commitment to the workplace and self-rated work ability.
An online questionnaire based mainly on scales and items from the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire was sent to all PDHS staff in four regions of Sweden resulting in a response rate of 76% (n = 1,345). ANOVA and exploratory cluster analyses were used in addition to descriptive and correlational analyses.
The current study confirms the overall picture from previous research with respect to employees of the Swedish PDHS. In particular, dentists from general practice, have a stressful work environment. The study contributes with new knowledge on how work-related stress, burnout symptoms and sleeping trouble (strain symptoms) differ according to work area and occupation. Also, strain symptoms were related to self-rated work ability and affective commitment to the workplace. This knowledge is important for the sector in order to consider the opportunity of integrating work environment, health, and wellbeing of staff into the planning of a sustainable future dental organization.