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Psychosocial risk at work, self-perceived stress, and salivary cortisol level in a sample of emergency physicians in Granada




González Cabrera J, Fernández Prada M, Molina Ruano R, Blázquez A, Guillén Solvas J, María Peinado J



Departamento de Psicología Social, Facultad de Psicología. Departamento de Bioquímica Molecular III e Inmunología, Universidad de Granada, España. Instituto de Neurociencias Federico Oloriz, Servicio de Medicina Preventiva, Servicio de Análisis Clínicos,



Objectives: 1) To describe psychosocial risks, stable disposition to feel stress, and salivary
cortisol levels in a sample of emergency physicians in Granada, Spain; 2) to explore
bivariate associations between the aforementioned factors; and 3) to analyze the results
by gender.
Methods: Cross-sectional study of 32 physicians working at the emergency departments
of 2 hospitals in Granada. Occupational psychosocial risk and perceived stress level were
assessed with the ISTAS-21 instrument (validated Spanish version of the Copenhagen
Psychosocial Questionnaire) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (trait scale; STAI-T).
Salivary cortisol (Salivette) was also measured as a biochemical marker of stress at 3
moments during a work shift.
Results: The emergency physicians reported psychosocial risk factors, particularly high
demand on psychological resources and low job control. The stress levels in the male
physicians were significantly higher than in the general population (P<.017). Cortisol
levels were within the normal range. On bivariate analysis, no associations were found
between ISTAS-21 findings, STAI-T scores, and cortisol levels.
Conclusions: Emergency physicians are in a potentially harmful working situation,
although we detected no effect on cortisol as a biochemical marker of stress.


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