How psychosocial factors affect well-being of practice assistants at work in general medical care?--a questionnaire survey

BMC Fam Pract. 2015 Nov 11:16:166. doi: 10.1186/s12875-015-0366-y.


Background: Well-being at work is an important aspect of a workforce strategy. The aim of the study was to explore and evaluate psychosocial factors and health and work-related outcomes of practices assistants depending on their employment status in general medical practices.

Methods: This observational study was based on a questionnaire survey to evaluate psychosocial aspects at work in general medical practices. A standardized questionnaire was used, the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ). Beside descriptive analyses linear regression analyses were performed for each health and work-related outcome scale of the COPSOQ.

Results: 586 practice assistants out of 794 respondents (73.8 %) from 234 general medical practices completed the questionnaire. Practice assistants reported the highest scores for the psychosocial factor 'sense of community' (mean = 85.9) and the lower score for 'influence at work' (mean = 41.2). Moreover, practice assistants who worked part-time rated their psychosocial factors at work and health-related outcomes more positively than full-time employees. Furthermore, the two scales of health related outcomes 'burnout' and 'job satisfaction' showed strong associations between different psychosocial factors and socio-demographic variables.

Conclusions: Psychosocial factors at work influence well-being at work and could be strong risk factors for poor health and work-related outcomes. Effective management of these issues could have an impact on the retention and recruitment of health care staff.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Emotional Adjustment*
  • Female
  • General Practice
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Physician Assistants / psychology*
  • Psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires