This study examined occupational stress amongst direct care staff in an NHS community service for people with learning disabilities. A questionnaire was designed to investigate which characteristics of work had an effect on job satisfaction and burnout. Payne's (1979) model of occupational stress was tested. Payne posits that stress is a function of the interaction between demands, supports and constraints. Empirical support for Payne's model was found and five important demand factors were highlighted: role conflict, role ambiguity, role overload, resident characteristics and non-participation in decision-making. The results suggest that occupational stress amongst staff caring for people with learning disabilities is best reduced by increasing support, since the job is likely to remain demanding. Suggestions are made concerning how support may be increased
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