Stress Factors and Coping Mechanisms in Health Social Workers' Workplaces: an Exploratory Study in Saudi Arabian Western Provence Hospitals
Muathen, Sahar H.
There is a growing body of literature that recognises the increasingly complex challenges faced by health social workers (HSWs) in their workplaces, due to the nature of the social work profession. To date, however, there has been limited research concerning work-related stress in the context of social work within health communities in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, this study aims to fill a gap in the existing literature in the domain of social work field by focusing on the Saudi HSWs’ experiences in the workplace. This study attempts to explore the incidence of work-related stress in public hospitals in Saudi Arabia (Makkah and Jeddah cities) from the perspective of HSWs. The specific objective is to identify those factors contributing to stress in the workplace, as well as the strategies that HSWs employ to overcome stress, and the influence of HSWs’ demographic background on work-related stress. The methodological approach taken in this study utilises Constructivist Grounded Theory Methodology (CGTM), with two phases for data collection (semi-structured interviews followed by a survey). The data obtained from HSWs suggests various factors are associated with the dominance of a conservative culture within the Saudi society, as well as other factors linked to gender. Moreover, the HSWs identified various strategies related to their spiritual beliefs and personal skills, in addition to the emotional and instrumental support as well as central supervision they receive. The findings also indicted a notable difference based on gender and length of fieldwork experience, in terms of both work-related stress factors and coping strategies. Based on these findings, a working framework for health social work practice in public hospitals in SA has been suggested in an attempt to enhance our understanding of those aspects that might contribute to work-related stress among HSWs within Saudi hospitals. It is anticipated that the outcomes presented in this research will make a specific contribution to the literature by focusing on the experience of work-related stress from HSWs’ viewpoint, increasing understanding of health and social work practices within the Saudi context.
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