The aim of the study was to explore how different styles of working relate to measures of occupational pressure experienced by consultant psychiatrists. A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 500 consultant psychiatrists enquiring about work patterns, roles and responsibilities; it also contained validated tools, including the 12-item General Health Questionnaire.
A total of 185 usable questionnaires were returned; an adjusted response rate of 41%. More ‘progressive’ styles of working were found to be linked with less occupational pressure on consultant psychiatrists. Three scales were derived: positive workload pattern, clarity of role and perceived support.
Alterations in working style may be helpful in combating occupational stress, and therefore in reducing attrition in the psychiatric workforce. Consultants and their teams should give consideration to reviewing their roles and patterns of working.