Psychosocial risks and work-related stress in developing countries: Health impact, priorities, barriers and solutions
International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Volume 23, Issue 3. pp. 225–238. DOI: 10.2478/v10001-010-0024-5
The current research explores experts’ perceptions of psychosocial risks and work-related stress in emerging economies and developing countries. This paper focuses on knowledge of potential health impact of psychosocial risks and preliminary priorities for action, and discusses potential barriers and solutions to addressing psychosocial risks and work-related stress in developing countries.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
This research applied a mixed methodology including semi-structured interviews, two rounds of an online Delphi survey, and four focus groups. Twenty nine experts with expertise in occupational health were interviewed. Seventy four experts responded to the first round of an online Delphi survey and 53 responded to the second round. Four groups of experts with a total of 37 active participants with specific or broader knowledge about developing country contexts participated in focus group discussions.
High concern was expressed for the need to address psychosocial risks and work-related stress and their health impact. Developing country experts’ knowledge about these issues was comparable to knowledge from industrialized countries, however, application of expert knowledge was reported to be weak in developing countries. Socio-economic conditions were regarded as important considerations. Priorities to be addressed were identified, and barriers to implementing possible solutions were proposed.
The future research and action paradigms in relation to psychosocial risk management will need to be broadened to include the larger social, political and economic contexts in developing countries beyond issues focusing solely on the working environment. Work-related psychosocial risks and the emerging priority of work-related stress should urgently be included in the research and political agendas and action frameworks of developing countries.