Online Program

Work Hazards, Stress and Stress Management in Adult Protective Services Workers

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Stacey B. Plichta, ScD, CPH, Health Policy and Management, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, New York, NY
Geoffrey Rogers, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, Hunter College, New York, NY
Angela Ghesquiere, PhD, MSW, rookdale Center for Healthy Aging, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY
Adult protective services (APS) workers are at high risk for exposure to occupational hazards and to occupational stress. To explore stress management, a pilot on-line survey was conducted with 76 APS workers attending a training institute. Respondents are mostly female, college educated and experienced (5+ years).  Almost all workers report regular exposure to physical, emotional and violent hazards, including clutter, human waste and being threatened. The majority score as highly stressed overall. Half report often feeling stressed and almost one-fifth (18%) report they often cannot cope with all they have to do. Almost half (46%) report feeling emotionally drained and overworked each workday.  A substantial minority report often feeling achy (30%) and having stiff joints (36%) each workday.  Frequently used coping mechanisms include using humor (69%), having interests outside of work (61%) taking comfort in a higher power (51%) and support from friends and family (50%). Less often used were relaxation techniques (32%), support from supervisors (20%) and professional services (18%).  A minority also used negative coping strategies such as drinking and compulsive behavior (gambling, video games).  Almost 40% missed one or more workdays because of health problems in the past month and 20% rate their job performance as subpar (under 80%).  APS supervisors should work towards being more actively involved in helping frontline workers effectively manage job stress.  APS worksites need to provide workers with more tools to manage their stress and improve their health.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe work hazards faced by adult protective services and others who work with vulnerable elderly populations Explain relationship between work-hazards and stress Discuss healthy and risky strategies by which workers currently manage stress

Keyword(s): Workforce, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Professor of Health Policy & Management at the CUNY School of Public Health. I have been conducting research in the area of policy and management, with a focus on domestic violence for over 20 years. I recently became a Brookdale Faculty Fellow at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging in order to deepen my understanding of aging and public health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.