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Job Control, Demand and Moral Distress Among Social Care Workers in England

24th November 2016 1pm, Ladywell House, Room 1/G/8, Edinburgh

Shereen Hussein, King's College London

This presentation is based on empirical studies on the English social care workforce spanning 2010 to 2016. I will start by providing an overview of the organisation of social care in England and the characteristics of its workforce highlighting the significance of gender and migration in the recruitment and retention to the care sector. The focus of the presentation would be on examining the nature of care work as 'emotionally taxing' and its impact on psychological job stress and its contributing and mitigating factors. The analysis is based on a large survey of care workers as part of the Longitudinal Care Work Study (LoCS). The LoCS survey utilised standardised scales of the Karasek's Job content Questionnaire ('JCQ'), which is an instrument designed to identify two crucial aspects of work: job demands - the stressors existing in the work environment - and job decision latitude (control) - the extent to which workers have the potential to control their tasks and conduct throughout the working day. Here, the job Control-Demand (CD) model postulates job strain as the result of an interaction between demand and control and examines contributing and mitigating factors; such as level of support received at the work place within the context of care. Analysis of qualitative interviews is used to explore how moral distress can manifest itself in every day care work activities.