Anticipation and the cortisol awakening response within a dynamic psychosocial work environment

Anticipation and the cortisol awakening response within a dynamic psychosocial work environment

Dr Thomas G Campbell, Dr Tony Westbury, Prof. Richard Davison, & Prof. Geraint D Florida-James

Abstract
The cortisol awakening response (CAR) is a distinct element of the diurnal pattern of cortisol release,
believed to be partly driven by the anticipation of the demands of the upcoming day. Although
evidence suggests that the response may be associated with various ergonomic factors, the influence
of temporal variation in anticipated workplace characteristics upon the CAR remains unclear. The
current study examined the CAR on two work days of differing levels of anticipatory demand
(high/low) and a single weekend day through repeated assessment of healthy employees (N=15).
Participants provided saliva samples immediately upon awakening and thirty minutes thereafter on
all assessment days. A paired t-test confirmed that the two work days differed significantly in terms
of perceived acute demand and a repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant main time effect,
confirming a rise in salivary cortisol over the post-awakening period. This response differed according
to the nature of assessment day, being greater on the “high” compared to the “low” demand day,
or the weekend. These findings suggest the CAR is influenced by the perceived level of acute
anticipatory work-related demand of the assessment day, highlighting the importance of attending
to the dynamics of the environment when employing real-world assessments.

Keywords: Acute work demands – ambulatory assessment – cortisol awakening response – employee
well-being – psychosocial stress

Abstrait
La réponse au réveil du cortisol (RAC) est un élément distinct du schéma diurne de la libération du cortisol,
qui serait en partie dû à l’anticipation des exigences du jour à venir. Bien que la preuve suggère que la
réponse peut être associée à divers facteurs ergonomiques, l’influence de la variation temporelle des
caractéristiques anticipées du milieu de travail sur la RCA demeure incertaine. L’étude actuelle a examiné
le ROC sur deux jours de travail avec différents niveaux de demande anticipée (haut / bas) et un seul jour
de fin de semaine grâce à une évaluation répétée des employés en bonne santé (N = 15). Les participants
ont fourni des échantillons de salive immédiatement au réveil et trente minutes par la suite pour tous les
jours d’évaluation. Un test t apparié a confirmé que les deux jours de travail différaient significativement
en termes de demande aiguë perçue et une ANOVA à mesures répétées a révélé un effet de temps principal
significatif, confirmant une augmentation du cortisol salivaire au cours de la période post-réveil. Cette
réponse diffère selon la nature de la journée d’évaluation, étant plus élevée sur le «haut» par rapport au
«faible» jour de la demande, ou le week-end. Ces résultats suggèrent que la RCA est influencée par le niveau
perçu de la demande anticipée aiguë liée au travail de la journée d’évaluation, soulignant l’importance de
prendre en compte la dynamique de l’environnement lors de l’utilisation d’évaluations du monde réel.

Mots clés: Exigences du travail aigu – évaluation ambulatoire – réponse au réveil du cortisol – bien-être des
employés – stress psychosocial

Share with a click
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    4
    Shares
  • 4
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

News: Professor Sir Cary Cooper highlights concerns about ‘presenteeism’ at work

CIPD Ireland Conference and Workshop 2016: Professor Sir Cary Cooper highlights concerns about ‘presenteeism’ at work

As CIPD Ireland opens its annual Conference and Workshop in Croke Park today, Professor Sir Cary Cooper, President of the CIPD and keynote speaker, highlights the problem of ‘sickness presenteeism’ at work and the cost of poor mental health and well-being to organisations.

Figures estimate that the cost of ‘presenteeism’ – where employees are attending work even though they are unwell and unable to perform at their best – for UK employers is £15.1 billion per year*. Professor Cooper will discuss how stress and workplace conflict affect mental health and organisational cultures, and the consequences of physical health issues to employee engagement and productivity.

Ahead of the conference from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, Professor Cooper comments: “Stress related absence is high in most EU countries. The challenge is to create good places to work, where people are managed by praise and reward and not fault-finding and word overload, where they are trusted to work more flexibly and where they have better balance in their lives”.The theme of this year’s conference in Croke Park is ‘HR shaping engagement and well-being to improve performance’ and highlights the need to build organisations that will not only attract and retain top talent, but also support and build resilience in employees, many of whom have survived turbulent times over the last few years. Ireland’s Human Resources community will hear from speakers on ways of supporting greater people engagement and developing well-being cultures that will improve the overall performance of organisations.

Leadership Coach Dr Tara Swart, CEO of The Unlimited Mind and Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, will be the second keynote speaker of the conference. She will also be facilitating a half-day Neuroscience for Leaders workshop on 16 June, where she will introduce key concepts from neuroscience that can inform leadership and unleash high performance in teams and organisations.

Mary Connaughton, Director CIPD Ireland, commented: “The changing nature of work and the improving economy in Ireland demands new ways of thinking from the HR profession and business leaders. We need to design better jobs and create work places where people can be at their best, develop meaningful careers and continuously upskill in line with business needs. Having a healthy workforce not only benefits the individual, but can significantly improve organisational performance and create a healthier bottom-line. That’s why employers, the government and HR community need to work together to build an integrated approach to well-being for all working environments and help individuals experience better work and working lives.

“We’re delighted to be bringing you inspiration and food for thought from a wide variety of thought leaders, practitioners and consultants across the HR industry, who will present their innovative approaches to engagement and well-being during our conference sessions. We also look forward to welcoming our exhibitors, who will be showcasing their creative solutions to help organisations succeed in today’s fast-paced world of work.”

CIPD Ireland is holding its annual conference in Croke Park on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th June.  Further information can be found by visiting: http://www.cipd.co.uk/global/europe/ireland/events/conference-2016.aspx.

Share with a click
  • 10
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    10
    Shares
  •  
    4
    Shares
  • 4
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

What the International Journal of Stress Prevention and Wellbeing (IJSPW) will publish?

The International Journal of Stress Prevention and Wellbeing (IJSPW), is seeking papers on the theory, research and practice of stress prevention and wellbeing including:

Stress research: Stress prevention: Stress management: Stress at work: Stress and education: Stress and management: Stress and health: Stress counselling: Stress management training: Health education: Health Promotion: Stress and coaching: Stress and leadership: Locus of control: Type A behaviour: Coping strategies: Change management: Relaxation: Meditation: Mindfulness: Psychophysiology: Biology: Wellbeing.

www.stressprevention.net

Share with a click
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    1
    Share
  •  
    4
    Shares
  • 4
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •