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Examining the dimensions and correlates of workplace stress among Australian veterinarians

Author(s): Smith Derek | Leggat Peter | Speare Richard | Townley-Jones Maureen

Journal: Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
ISSN 1745-6673

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 32;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Abstract Background Although stress is known to be a common occupational health issue in the veterinary profession, few studies have investigated its broad domains or the internal validity of the survey instrument used for assessment. Methods We analysed data from over 500 veterinarians in Queensland, Australia, who were surveyed during 2006-07. Results The most common causes of stress were reported to be long hours worked per day, not having enough holidays per year, not having enough rest breaks per day, the attitude of customers, lack of recognition from the public and not having enough time per patient. Age, gender and practice type were statistically associated with various aspects of work-related stress. Strong correlations were found between having too many patients per day and not having enough time per patient; between not having enough holidays and long working hours; and also between not enough rest breaks per day and long working hours. Factor analysis revealed four dimensions of stress comprising a mixture of career, professional and practice-related items. The internal validity of our stress questionnaire was shown to be high during statistical analysis. Conclusion Overall, this study suggests that workplace stress is fairly common among Australian veterinarians and represents an issue that occupies several distinct areas within their professional life.
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