News: Psychology Professor Receives $1.4 Million Grant
Author: Author: Angela D. Abel (503-725-8763) Office of Marketing and Communications
Posted: September 15, 2005

Portland State University Psychology Professor Leslie B. Hammer has been awarded a three-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to create a center researching supervisor behaviors that support the health and safety of workers and their families, the first study of its kind in the nation.

The NIOSH grant will fund the creation of the "Center for Work-Family Stress, Safety, and Health" (CWFSSH) housed in the Psychology Department of PSU. The CWFSSH is a joint effort with Michigan State University and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The initial three-year study is the first in the nation to examine family-supportive supervisory behaviors that lead to decreased employee work-family stress, and improved safety and health. It will also be 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.

In collaboration with a major grocery chain in the Northeastern United States and the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, the Center will study work-family stressors that low-wage grocery workers are experiencing and how these relate to important work outcomes such as productivity, safety, absenteeism performance, health and well-being. The Center believes that the connection between how supervisors organize, communicate and administer work and family policies and facilitate supportive work-family cultures within organizations will significantly enhance U.S. public health and occupational health policy.

"This is an exciting opportunity to have the Center housed within the PSU Department of Psychology with its recent approval of the Ph.D. in Applied Psychology," said Prof. Hammer. "In addition to its unique focus on work-family and safety and health issues among low-wage, unionized, grocery workers, the Center will make a contribution to both individual and organizational well-being, while providing graduate students applied research experience."

Leslie B. Hammer is a professor in the Psychology Department at Portland State University and the director of the Occupational Health Psychology graduate training program. Prof. Hammer, along with Margaret Neal of PSU's Institute of Aging, recently concluded a national longitudinal study of the work and family experiences of dual-earner couples, also known as the "Sandwich Generation," who care for children and aging parents, which was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan foundation.

In addition to Prof. Hammer, Ellen Ernst Kossek is the Center's associate director, a professor at Michigan State University and a leading researcher on employer support for work-family policies. Kent Anger, associate director of the Center for Research on Environmental and Occupational Toxicology at OHSU, and Todd Bodner, assistant professor in PSU's Department of Psychology, are also collaborators on the grant.

For more information on the Center for Work-Family Stress, Safety, and Health, please visit or call Leslie Hammer at 503-725-3971.

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Leslie B. Hammer (503-725-3971)
Center Director, Portland State University

For Immediate Release (#05-128)