Job Dissatisfaction in a Hospital Setting: Testing the Social Support Model

John Francis Wozniak

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the potential advantages of the "social support model." This model specifies that social supports may mitigate the effects of stressors (e.g.. role conflict, role ambiguity) on negative outcomes such as job dissatisfaction. An attempt is made to determine the extent to which an empirical analysis based on the "social support model" permits a more adequate explanation of two measures of job dissatisfaction than that achieved when social supports are omitted from the investigation.

A secondary analysis of data from a study of acute-care hospital employees provides partial support for the contention that the inclusion of social supports in an empirical analysis accounts for a statistically significant increment in explained variance. The analysis reveals that social supports in general and supervisor support (for achievement) in particular have significant impacts on the "general job dissatisfaction" measure. Alternatively. these relationships are not discovered to exist when the dependent variable is "dissatisfaction with job expectations." In a more rigorous test of the social support model, interaction terms are entered into regression equations. The results do not indicate that social supports systematically buffer the effects of stressors.

When compared to the effects of the social support variables, the stressor variables account for a greater amount of variance in the analysis of each of the two measures of job dissatisfaction. The findings on the stressors suggest that the nature of work roles and decision making are the most important determinants of job-related affect. In sum, the results are largely consistent with previous research on: stressors, buffering effects, and the social support model (for one of the two dependent variables).

The conclusion recommends avenues for future research and addresses a largely neglected issue: why there has been a proliferation of social support research over this past decade.