Background: Township cadres, considered as basic executors of state policy, play an important role in Chinese society. Their job satisfaction is a vital issue for township management, but there are few studies on this topic in China. The goal of this study is to analyze the relationship between occupational stress and job satisfaction, and to further examine whether psychological capital (PsyCap) can serve as a mediator between stress and job satisfaction in Chinese township cadres. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out during the period of from October 2015 to January 2016 in Liaoning Province of China. The questionnaires, which consisted of an effort-reward imbalance scale, Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) for job satisfaction, and the psychological capital questionnaire (PCQ-24), as well as questions about demographic characteristics, were distributed to 1800 township cadres and complete responses were received from 1525 participants. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the role that psychological capital played in mediating between occupational stress and job satisfaction. Results: In the present study, effort-reward ratio (ERR= 11 × effort/6 × reward) was negatively associated with job satisfaction (r = -0.372, p < 0.001), whereas psychological capital was positively associated with job satisfaction in township cadres (r = 0.587, p < 0.001) from a specific province in China. Psychological capital is a mediator between the association of job stress and job satisfaction. Conclusions: Psychological capital partially mediated the relationship between job stress and job satisfaction among Chinese township cadres. Interventions to improve Chinese township cadres' job satisfaction should be developed in the future, especially the enhancement of PsyCap. Interventions need to be verified in further cohort studies. At present, we are only proposing a theoretical model. Intervention effects need to be validated in further cohort studies.
Keywords: job satisfaction; occupational stress; psychological capital; township cadres.