Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya

Co-organiser

Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya

WORKING WOMEN IN MALAYSIA: WHO ARE AT RISK FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS?

Author

S Umi Adzlin 1 , M Marhani 2 , NJ Nik Ruzyanei 2 , AA Salina 3 , A Azrul Rozaiman 4 , R Rosdinom 2 , Hatta 2

Institution

1 Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health, Hospital Putrajaya
2 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
3 Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health, Hospital Kuala Lumpur
4 Occupational Health Services, Hospital Pakar Annur, Bandar Baru Bangi

Abstract

Objectives: We examined the predictors of psychological distress among married working women in a Malaysian suburb and the role of coping strategies in modifying distress.

Methods: Using a multistage cluster random sampling method, respondents from 25 workplaces were administered General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and questionnaires examining socio-demographic and family variables, perceived social support, perceived work stress, work-family conflicts and coping strategies in 2007. Factors significantly associated with psychological distress from bivariate analyses were entered into a logistic regression model twice without and with coping strategies to identify predictors of psychological distress and examine the effect of coping strategies in modifying distress.

Results: In a total of 307 respondents, predictors of psychological distress were perceived low social support, perceived work stress in social support from co-workers and supervisors, perceived work stress in psychological demands, recent life event, work-to-family conflict (WFC) and family-to-work conflict (FWC) (p< 0.05). Coping strategies, namely high utilization of task-oriented coping and low utilization of emotion-oriented coping generated a diffusing effect on family-to-work conflict but not the other factors.

Conclusion: This study showed, in Malaysian working women, challenges at work contributed more to psychological distress which were not easily modifiable by coping strategies as compared to other factors.