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J Occup Health Psychol. 2012 Oct;17(4):387-97. doi: 10.1037/a0029817.

The effect of challenge and hindrance stressors on safety behavior and safety outcomes: a meta-analysis.

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Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Booth Street West, Manchester, M15 6PB, United Kingdom.


The significance of occupational stressors as a risk factor in accidents has long been recognized; however, the behavioral mechanisms underlying this relationship are currently not well-understood. Meta-analysis was utilized to test the relationships between occupational stressors (challenge and hindrance), safety behaviors (compliance and participation), and safety outcomes (occupational injuries and near-misses). It was hypothesized that hindrance stressors would have negative effects on both safety compliance and safety participation, and subsequently, safety outcomes, whereas challenge stressors would have positive effects. The hypotheses relating to hindrance stressors were supported, suggesting that hindrance stressors lead to a significant reduction in both compliance with safety rules and participation in safety-related activities. Hindrance stressors were also associated with higher levels of occupational injuries and near-misses. The relationship between hindrance stressors and occupational injuries was fully mediated by safety behaviors. However, the hypotheses related to challenge stressors were not supported. Challenge stressors had a nonsignificant, near-zero association with compliance and occupational injuries, a small negative association with participation, and a small positive association with near-misses. The theoretical and practical implications of the meta-analytic findings are discussed, as well as avenues for further research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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