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The Gerontologist 48:60-70 (2008)
© 2008 The Gerontological Society of America

The Impact of Stress and Support on Direct Care Workers' Job Satisfaction

Farida K. Ejaz, PhD1, Linda S. Noelker, PhD1, Heather L. Menne, PhD1 and Joshua G. Bagaka's, PhD2

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Farida K. Ejaz, Margaret Blenkner Research Institute, Benjamin Rose Institute, 11900 Fairhill Road, Suite 300, Cleveland, OH 44120-1053. E-mail: fejaz{at}

Purpose: This research applies a stress and support conceptual model to investigate the effects of background characteristics, personal and job-related stressors, and workplace support on direct care workers' (DCW) job satisfaction. Design and Methods: Researchers collected survey data from 644 DCWs in 49 long-term care (LTC) organizations. The DCWs included nurse assistants in nursing homes, resident assistants in assisted living facilities, and home care aides in home health agencies. We examined the influence of components of the LTC stress and support model on DCW job satisfaction. Initially, we ran a multiple regression analysis by entering individual-level DCW predictors with job satisfaction as the outcome. Subsequently, we used hierarchical linear modeling to examine the influence of organizational factors on DCW job satisfaction after controlling for significant individual-level DCW variables. Results: Components of the model explained 51% of the variance in DCW job satisfaction. Background characteristics of DCWs were less important than personal stressors (e.g., depression), job-related stressors (e.g., continuing education), and social support (e.g., interactions with others) in predicting job satisfaction. Results from hierarchical linear modeling analysis showed that nursing homes compared to the two other types of LTC organizations had lower average DCW job satisfaction rates, as did organizations offering lower minimum hourly rates and those reporting turnover problems. Implications: Study findings underscore the importance of targeting both DCW-level and organizational-level factors to increase DCW job satisfaction.

Key Words: Aides in nursing homes • Home health agencies • Assisted living

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Copyright © 2008 by The Gerontological Society of America.