The Occupational and Biopsychosocial Well-being of Speech and Language Therapists Practising Clinically in the United Kingdom

Ewen, Claire (2021) The Occupational and Biopsychosocial Well-being of Speech and Language Therapists Practising Clinically in the United Kingdom. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Claire Ewen PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Apr 2021_Final Award Jul 2021.pdf - Accepted Version

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Previous research has identified psychological ill health in allied health professionals. Whilst studies in the USA, Australia and elsewhere in the world provide some insight into the health of speech and language therapists (SLTs) generally, less is known about the well-being of the UK workforce, or about the environments in which they currently work.

The present study therefore sought to address this gap by examining the occupational and biopsychosocial well-being of SLTs working clinically in the United Kingdom. A mixed methods design consisted of two consecutive phases. The first, nomothetic phase was a longitudinal survey, utilizing a questionnaire distributed at two time points, three months apart. The questionnaire captured the job characteristics of SLTs, and measured the biopsychosocial stressors that they experienced, as well as their occupational and general biopsychosocial health. At the first time point of phase one, there were 632 participants and at the second there were 295. The first phase yielded both quantitative and qualitative data. The second ideographic phase consisted of semi-structured interviews; interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to explore the views of 15 SLTs, who were drawn from the main sample.

Results revealed that a third of SLTs in the sample had high strain jobs, characterised by high demands and low support. While high or very high levels of job satisfaction was reported by two fifths of participants, one in two achieved caseness on the GHQ-28, suggesting increased susceptibility to psychological difficulties. Low control and low support were associated with low job satisfaction, while high demands and low support predicted poorer general biopsychosocial well-being. Those participants who were self-employed had higher job satisfaction, lower occupational stress, and better biopsychosocial well-being than those who were organizationally employed or held a mixture of both types of employment. Five themes were identified in the qualitative data: ‘being’ an SLT; the daily working life of an SLT; a lack of validation and feeling unsupported; feeling conflicted and lacking control; and looking after well-being – successes and challenges. This research reveals the views and insights of an under-investigated professional group. The implications of the findings for SLTs working in the UK are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
28 April 2021Submitted
9 July 2021Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Speech and language therapist, speech and language pathologist, wellbeing, psychosocial wellbeing, job satisfaction, occupational stress, demand control support, values, conflict, resilience
Subjects: CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-01 - psychology (non-specific)
CAH04 - psychology > CAH04-01 - psychology > CAH04-01-04 - psychology and health
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Psychology
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2022 13:18
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 13:21

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