Worklife Quality in a State Department of Corrections: A Study of Organizational Structure, Work Stress and the Coping Adaptations of Employees

Marie L. Griffin, Arizona State University West
John R. Hepburn, Arizona State University

The social structure and organizational climate of large bureaucratic agencies often create environmental factors at work that can negatively affect the quality of life in the workplace. Excessive workload demands, ambiguous expectations, lack of control over the work and low levels of social support are chronic stressors which can lead to heightened levels of stress among employees, who then adopt coping strategies to manage or reduce the stress. Correctional organizations are characterized by stress-producing environmental factors, but little is known about the relationship between work stressors and the coping adjustments made by correctional workers. We use heirarchical regression procedures to test for main and interaction effects of job stressors on job stress and coping adjustments among a sample of employees of the Arizona Department of Corrections. The findings are discussed in terms of the current literature on organizational stress and in terms of their implications for the organization.

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Updated 05/20/2006