Title

COMPLIANCE WITH SAFETY PRACTICES AMONG NURSES: EXPLORING THE LINK BETWEEN ORGANIZATIONAL SAFETY CLIMATE, ROLE DEFINITIONS, AND SAFE WORK PRACTICES

Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Psychology/Industrial-Organizational

First Advisor

Michael Zickar

Abstract

Accidental exposure to bloodborne infections is a serious occupational hazard affecting thousands of health care workers. According to surveillance evidence, the level of compliance with safety regulations among health care workers is often low. This cross-sectional, correlational research investigated psychological processes involved in safety compliance. Occupational safety and industrial/organizational psychology theories were integrated to identify organizational and psychological factors that are associated with safety compliance among hospital nurses. The work-systems model of occupational safety proposed by DeJoy, Gershon, and Murphy (1998) was expanded for this study by incorporating the construct of role definition (Hofmann, Morgeson, & Gerras, 2003; Morrison, 1994). 170 nursing professionals and their 103 coworkers employed at two Mid-Western medical centers completed self-administered surveys. The final sample of 95 matched nurse-coworker dyads was analyzed. Safety compliance ratings provided by a coworker were positively correlated with self-reported compliance-specific role definitions, overall job satisfaction, conscientiousness, positive mood at work, and individually-perceived safety climate within one’s hospital unit. Safety compliance was inversely correlated with negative mood at work. Men were less likely to comply with safety, compared to women. Compliance-specific role definitions moderated the conscientiousness-compliance relationship such that, when role definitions were broad, the conscientiousness-compliance relationship was weak. Role definitions mediated the relationship between negative mood and compliance. Practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.