Background: Off-shore oil production is widely regarded as a stressful occupation and digestive system problems were commonly observed in off-shore oil workers. Is occupational stress from off-shore oil work associated with the occurrence of digestive problems among off-shore oil workers? And are coping styles also related to their occurrence? The aim of this study was to explore the direct and interactive association of occupational stress and coping styles with ulcer-like symptoms in Chinese male off-shore oil workers.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 561 Chinese male off-shore oil workers. They were invited to fill in a self-administered questionnaire exploring their socio-demographic characteristics, occupational stress, coping style, and ulcer-like symptoms. A stepwise multiple regression procedure was used to assess the direct and interactive effects of occupational stress and coping behaviors on ulcer-like symptoms.
Results: After controlling for age, educational level, marital status and years of off-shore working, the ulcer-like symptoms were significantly positively associated with occupational stress and "internal behavior" coping methods, negatively associated with external/social behavior coping methods, and positively associated with the interaction between occupational stress and internal behavior coping.
Conclusion: The results of the present study suggest that occupational stress was associated with gastric health problems and that this association might be moderated by certain coping behaviors.