This study examined the association between psychosocial and organizational work conditions and mental health among women employed in the cleaning profession in Norway.
Self-report questionnaires were mailed to 661 cleaning staff personnel from seven cleaning organizations in seven different cities across Norway. The response rate was 64%, of which 374 (88%) respondents were women. The questionnaires assessed socio-demographic information and employment history, work organization, and psychosocial working conditions. The Hopkins Symptoms Checklist (HSCL-25) was included to assess mental health.
On average, respondents were 43 years old and reported 10.8 years of experience working in the cleaning industry. The proportion of women scoring a HSCL-25 equal to or above 1.75 was 17.5%, which was higher than the average prevalence of mental health problems among working Norwegian women (8.4%). A factor analysis of the questions specific to the psychosocial work environment identified the following four underlying dimensions: leadership, co-workers, time pressure/control, and information/knowledge. Two of these, poor satisfaction with leadership (OR = 3.6) and poor satisfaction with co-workers (OR = 2.3), were significantly related to mental health. In addition, having contact with colleagues less than once a day (OR = 2.4) and not being ethnically Norwegian (OR = 3.0) increased the risk for mental health problems.
Mental health problems are frequent among female cleaning professionals in Norway. Our results indicate that quality of leadership, collaboration with co-workers, and ethnicity were significantly associated with mental health.