Work-home interaction and wellbeing in the South African Police Service / Carin Marais
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There is an apparent lack of in-depth knowledge about the processes that may underlie the interaction between work and home life, and their relationships with employee health and well-being. Work and home has traditionally been considered as separate domains, but during the past decade of democracy, transformation developments (eg, Affirmative Action, Employment Equity) changed the nature of the labour market and economy. This facilitated the increase in the number of working single-parent, dual-earner families, and of women participating in the workforce, which in turned influenced the work-home interaction of employed individuals. Furthermore, various researchers regard burnout and engagement as important constructs to consider in the well-being of employees. The level of a person's wellbeing subsequently affects his/her functionality in both the work and home spheres. Thus, there is a need to identify ways which both the individual and the organisation can apply to increase personal well-being and the balance between work and home life. South Africa has 11 different national languages, and only 8,3% of the population actually speak English at home. Language differences should therefore be taken into account when administering questionnaires. Studies in South Africa generally report race, education, language, and understanding of English as the main factors which impact on construct and item comparability of psychometric tests. There is consequently an obvious need to translate research instruments before they are administered to individuals from different language groups. If language differences are not taken into account, invalid conclusions regarding the constructs under study could be made, with serious implications for culturally diverse settings such as in South Africa. The objectives of this research were to translate the Survey Work-Home Interaction Nijmegen (SWING), Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) and Utrecth Work Engagement Scale (UWES) into Afrikaans and Setswana, and to investigate the construct validity, construct equivalence and reliability of these instruments. Furthermore, differences between demographic groups regarding work-home interaction and well-being were investigated. Finally, a structural model was tested, which included job characteristics, negative and positive work-home interference (WHI) and well-being (burnout and engagement). A cross-sectional survey design was used. Random samples (N = 685) were taken from police stations in the North West province. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to determine the construct validity and equivalence of the measuring instruments and to test the structural model. The results indicated that work-home interaction can be described as a four-dimensional construct consisting of negative WHI, positive WHI, negative home-work interference (HWI), and positive HWI. This factor structure was equivalent across all three language groups and all the scales were reliable. A four-factor model was confirmed for burnout and included exhaustion, cognitive weariness, cynicism and professional efficacy. A one-factor model was found for engagement. Both translated instruments were found to be equivalent for the three language groups. Furthermore, a second order factor analysis revealed that the underlying structure of well-being consists of two negatively related and equivalent factors, namely burnout (exhaustion, cognitive weariness and cynicism) and an enlarged engagement construct (engagement and professional efficacy). Members reported more negative WHI than negative HWI, and more positive HWI than positive WHI. Statistically significant differences exist between demographic groups regarding work-home interaction based on language, gender, marital status. parental status and education. Statistically significant differences of wellness exist between demographic groups based on language and educational level. The results of the structural equation modelling revealed that job demands were directly and positively associated with negative WHI and burnout, while job resources were directly and positively associated with positive WHI and work engagement. This also indicates the partial mediating effect of WHI between job characteristics and wellness. In addition, a lack ofjob resources was associated with higher levels of burnout. Recommendations for future research were made.
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