Purpose – The purpose of this study is to introduce the concept of work‐related health attributions and investigate the effects of such perceptions as well as of health status on work‐related attitudes and turnover intentions. Design/methodology/approach – Building on attribution theory, the study tests the assumption that negative work‐related health attributions impair employee work‐related attitudes and intentions, and moderate the relation between health status and work‐related attitudes. Cross‐sectional questionnaire data from 785 Swedish retail white‐collar workers are collected to test these assumptions by utilizing moderated regression analyses. Findings – The results show that negative work‐related health attributions are related to lower levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment as well as higher levels of turnover intention, even after controlling for demographics, work climate variables, and mental distress. Further, the significant interaction between attributions and mental distress indicates that it makes a difference for employees' turnover intentions if an individual with high mental distress attributes it to work or not. Practical implications – Work‐related health attributions should be taken into account in order to avoid impaired levels of employee work motivation. The measure introduced renders it possible to identify and help those individuals who believe that work affects their health negatively. Originality/value – The results underscore the relevance of how individuals think their health is affected by their work, and contributes to the understanding of how health status relates to work‐related attitudes. Since the measure of work‐related health attributions is easily administered it is also valuable for practitioners working with employee health and attitudes.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 27, 2009
Keywords: Personal health; Job satisfaction; Employee turnover; Sick leave; Sweden