Primary Goal of CWFSSH
The goal of the CWFSSH is to promote healthier and safer workplaces by effectively managing workplace stressors and reducing work-family conflict. Specifically, the CWFSSH is focusing their current investigations on supervisory behaviors that support employees' efforts to successfully manage their work and family demands, ultimately improving workers' health and well-being.
The Center for Work-Family Stress, Safety and Health (CWFSSH) is a joint effort between Portland State University, where it is housed, and Purdue University, to examine innovative workplace practices that can ultimately improve the health and well-being of employees and their families. Drs. Leslie Hammer (PSU) and Ellen Kossek (Purdue), the Director and Associate Director for the center, respectively, have extensive experience in designing, implementing, and evaluating worksite interventions and supervisor training.
Veteran Supervisory Support: New Grant, Just Announced!
Dr. Hammer recently received a grant from the Department of Defense titled “Development and Evaluation of Veteran-Supportive Supervisor Training (VSST): Improving Reintegration of the Oregon National Guard and Reserves into the Workplace” starting in 2013. The study is a randomized control trial with pre- and post-training evaluation. The Veteran-Supportive Supervisor Training will focus on increasing support for veterans and their families in the civilian workforce with positive impacts expected both at home and at work.
Click here for press release from March 13, 2013.
About the WFHN study
CWFSSH is part of the Work, Family and Health Network (WFHN) , which has the goal of providing scientific evidence about how workplace changes that are aimed to reduce work-family conflict, thus impacting the health of workers. Launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2005, the Network is comprised of interdisciplinary research teams around the United States. Primary funders of CWFSSH include the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
This study is the first to examine specific supervisory behaviors that are supportive of their employees' efforts to manage their work and family demands. It is also the first to explicitly link conflicts between work and family demands to worker safety and the mental and physical health of workers and their families.
The design of work, as well as public health and employer policies, have not been fully updated in the U.S. to accommodate the transformation of the work and family relationship. Although workplace studies are starting to demonstrate that supervisory support for work and family may be more important (or at least as important) as formal workplace policies and supports, the specific behaviors that supervisors should do in order to effectively help employees manage work and family conflicts have not been clearly nor specifically identified until now.
Phase 1 of the study concluded in late 2008, when Phase 2 commenced. In Phase 1, Drs. Hammer and Kossek partnered with a large retail grocery chain in the Mid-Western U.S. to develop a training program focused on educating supervisors about the importance of work-family issues and what behaviors were integral to family-supportive supervision. Data were collected from employees before and after the training effort to test its effectiveness. In addition, stores that implemented the training were compared with those that did not.
In the next phase of the WFHN Study, the research team is further refining and testing their supervisory training by conducting a rigorous randomized field test, using workers from two distinctly different industries: information technology and health care. The research centers are working collaboratively in this second phase, taking the best practices and findings of their individual projects in Phase I to inform the Phase II study.