STRESS AND BUS DRIVERS: WHERE SHOULD THE THEORISTS GET OFF?
Searle, B., Macquarie University and Bright, J., University of New South Wales, Australia
This presentation reports a targeted study on stress in urban bus drivers. A survey was designed to test three models of occupational stress: the job strain model (Karasek, 1979), the iso-strain model (Johnson & Hall, 1988), and the person-environment fit model (French & Caplan, 1972). The bus driver work environment was chosen as it is an example of what Karasek called a "high strain" job, that is, a job for which one might predict very high stress levels. A total of 124 urban bus drivers were surveyed to measure perceived and ideal levels of different work factors, along with psychological distress, physical health and job satisfaction. Contrary to the job-strain and iso-strain models, the work environment experienced by bus drivers appeared to be high in demands and low in decision latitude, yet the drivers did not show unusually high psychological distress. However, physical strain was more common in drivers whose work preferences were incongruent with the nature of the bus driving work environment.