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Problems at Work: Exploring the Correlates of Role Stress Among Correctional Staff

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 89 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 460-481
Date Published
December 2009
22 pages

This study examined the potential reasons of role stress for correctional staff.


Results show that input into decisionmaking, supervision, formalization, integration, and instrumental communication all had statistically significant negative effects on role stress. Job performance feedback had a non-significant effect. Allowing staff input into decisionmaking helps reduce role stress for correctional employees. The measure of supervision also had an inverse relationship with role stress; employees who perceive their supervisors are being accessible, fair, and encouraging are less likely to report role stress. Formalization appears to be important in helping reduce role stress for correctional staff because it provides guidance to people on what needs to be done and how it is to be done. Integration was not only found to have a negative relationship with role stress, but it had the largest effect of all the studies included in the analysis; creating integration among different work groups leads to decreased role stress reported by employees. Instrumental communication was found to also have an inverse impact on role stress in this study; instrumental communication in all likelihood leads to a better understanding by the employee of what is to be done and how it is to be done. Job performance feedback has been observed to have a positive relationship with organizational commitment. Finally, of the seven personal characteristics, only position and tenure had statistically significant associations with role stress. Data were collected from 272 employees from a midwestern high security State-run prison. Tables, note, and references

Date Published: December 1, 2009