BACKGROUND: Although studies have shown that medical residents experience poor psychological health and poor organizational conditions, their quality of work life (QWL) had not been measured. A new tool, the Quality of Work Life Systemic Inventory (QWLSI), proposes to fill the gap in the definition and assessment of this concept.
AIMS: To confirm the convergent validity of the QWLSI, analyse Belgian medical residents' QWL with the QWLSI and discuss an intervention methodology based on the analysis of the QWLSI.
METHODS: One hundred and thirteen medical residents participated between 2002 and 2006. They completed the QWLSI, the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Job Stress Survey to confirm the correspondence between these three tools.
RESULTS: Residents' low QWL predicted high emotional exhaustion (β = 0.282; P < 0.01) and job stress (β = 0.370; P < 0.001) levels, confirming the convergent validity. This sample of medical residents had an average QWL (μ = 5.8; SD = 3.1). However, their QWL was very low for three subscales: arrangement of work schedule (μ = 9; SD = 6.3), support offered to employee (μ = 7.6; SD = 6.1) and working relationship with superiors (μ = 6.9; SD = 5.3).
CONCLUSIONS: The results confirm that the QWLSI can provide an indication of workers' health well-being and of organizational performance in different areas of work life. The problem factors found among Belgian medical residents suggest that prevention should focus on reduction of work hours, development of support and change in leadership style.
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