Cette étude vise à identifier les variables modifiables liées au travail qui pourraient influencer la probabilité de souffrir d’une détérioration de la santé mentale et de l’adaptation professionnelle suite à un événement potentiellement traumatique.
Background Exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) at work can have a negative impact on the psychological health and work life of child protection workers (CPWs). The most common form of work-related PTE experienced by CPWs consists of aggressive behaviours from the youths or their parents.Objective This study aims to identify modifiable work-related variables that might influence the probability of experiencing impaired mental health and professional adjustment following a PTE.Method The participants were CPWs from two youth social services organizations in Canada. A survey was administered to CPWs within one month of a work-related PTE (Time 1; n = 176), two months after the PTE (Time 2; n = 168), six months after the PTE (Time 3; n = 162), and 12 months after the PTE (Time 4; n = 161). Lagged linear mixed models allowed for the independent variables measured at Time 1, Time 2, and Time 3 to predict the outcome variables as measured on the next assessment (Time 2, Time 3, and Time 4, respectively). The outcomes of interest were insomnia symptoms, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and post-traumatic stress symptoms, as well as presenteeism (inadequate work performance) and professional quality of life.Results Confidence in one’s own ability to cope with service user aggression negatively predicted depressive, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress symptoms as well as presenteeism, and positively predicted professional quality of life. The perception of job safety negatively predicted depressive, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress symptoms, and positively predicted professional quality of life. Finally, psychological demands from work positively predicted all mental health outcomes as well as presenteeism, and negatively predicted professional quality of life.Conclusions This study identified work-related variables that could be modified in an attempt to prevent the negative impacts of exposure to work-related PTEs, especially, aggressive behaviours from the service users.