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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


CARRENO GARCIA, Silvia et al. Características organizacionales, estrés y consumo de alcohol en trabajadores de una empresa textil mexicana. Salud Ment [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.4, pp.63-70. ISSN 0185-3325.

There are different factors within work environment that could créate both wellbeing and distress in workers. The climate perception employees have, as well as their evaluation of some, could have positive and negative consequences at personal and organizational levels. Work stress is another element that has meaningful repercussions on the health of people and on the quality of their performance; it has been related to alcohol and psychoactive substances abuse, besides of an increase in different social and work problems.

The main objective of this paper is to determine the relationship between organizational factors (such as work stress, organization climate, and work satisfaction) and alcohol use, and the occurrence of industrial problems and accidents in Mexican workers in a textile organization.


In order to interfere as less as possible with the production process, this study was carried out at the facilities of the organization, during work hours and during weekends. Thus, only employees who attended to work these days were interviewed.

The sample included 277 workers who basically performed as operative staff. No more organization characteristics are described on behalf of an agreement, and of the anonymity of the answers given by the subjects.

All the interviewees were men, their ages fluctuated between 16 and 65 years, 85% of them had attained junior high school, and 72% were married or living with a partner.

A self rated questionnaire was used, along with the AUDIT (alcohol use disorder identification test) alcohol test, a work stress scale, another scale for organization climate, one more for work satisfaction, and some general questions. All the scales had good internal consistency.

The procedure consisted in gathering 20 workers in a well-ventilated and illuminated room. The interviewer, who was previously trained, read the instructions aloud, emphasizing anonymity and confidentiality of any information the workers give, and stating that no one from the company would have access to the data.

Analyses were performed with statistical software SPSS 11.5. EQS 6.0 was used to test the structural equation model with the relationship between organizational factors, alcohol use and negative consequences at work.


Organizational climate. Most of the workers (92%) perceived a good level of communication with the work group, 87.2% mentioned to receive help from the boss when they have to do an activity they are not familiar with, 78% said they have enough support to solve the problems related to work. There were differences between the workers according to education level; the ones with the higher level perceived a more adverse climate. There were differences also between shifts (morning, evening, and mixed); the workers from the first one perceived a less favorable climate.

Work satisfaction. Most of the workers think of their job as something useful (95%), 93% said they liked it, and 88.3% mentioned their families are satisfied. There are statistical differences be-tween satisfaction and education levels; subjects who had only basic education were more satisfied than those with a higher level.

The stress sources are related to the effort implied in the struggle to move forward (87.6%), to have too much work to do (60.5%), and to the possibility of an accident when subjects are careless (51.6%). The total scale scores indicated that 14.2% of the workers had high levels of work stress.

Alcohol use: 61.7% of the workers consumed alcohol during the previous year. According to the AUDIT (using eight or more as a cutoff score) 25.8% were classified as cases for alcohol related problems; 26.5% of the subjects had risk consumption, and 5.3% were consuming in a dangerous way because of the frequency and the amount they drink.

Work problems: 24.1% of the subjects mentioned they have invested more time than usual in some activity related to work, 21% have been told off because of their performance, 18% felt they could not achieve quality outcomes. The incidents that workers mentioned were: hand injuries (17.5%), finger injuries (15.7%), being close to suffer an accident (13.5%), and suffering damage or injuries when working (10%).

A structural equation model allowed to observe that organizational factors, climate, satisfaction, and work stress are meaningful predictors of work accidents and problems. Of all the variables included in this analysis, work stress also was the one that best predicted alcohol use at the work place.

A direct effect of the individual level of alcohol use and of the use at the work place on problems and accidents, was observed. This effect was not initially considered in the model of individual consumption, neither were the frequency, the amount consumed, nor the excessive use; it was necessary to add this direct path to adjust the model so they were observed as important elements.


Interviewees perceived communication as an important climate issue, mainly when established with the work group. Another element mentioned as important was perceived, that is support from the boss or supervisor to solve problems. Education level has a relevant role in the way workers live their work climate; those with a lower level experience it as more favorable. This could be the consequence of higher work expectations related to a higher education level. There are differences among shifts; workers from the first shift experienced a more favorable climate.

The model included climate as a meaningful element for the presence of consequences at work place; this had a direct effect over the existence of problems and the occurrence of accidents, it was opposite to the results observed in other studios were there was not a direct relationship.

Work satisfaction has to do with job usefulness, the joy for the task done, and family satisfaction with the position. The education at level affects perception of work climate. This evaluation of the worker climate has been identified as a significant factor for the reduction of negative effects at work.

It is necessary to mention that employees with a higher stress level are the married ones, which may be caused by the responsibilities implied in being a family supplier. This concurs with the result of a study on burnout, which found that being married is a risk factor to develop high stress.

Work stress was the most predictive component of accidents and problems at the work place, which had a direct relation (0.50). It also directly predicted alcohol use at the work place (0.22), and had a negative statistical difference with climate (-.29). Thus, it is important to consider that when workers perceive a better climate, stress level goes down, and it is necessary to consider this organizational factor to improve work conditions besides employees' physical and mental health. According to the model tested in this study, alcohol use has a direct and meaningful effect on performance and on the frequency of problems and accidents, inside and outside the organization.

It is important to consider that prevention in work places must be done globally, taking into account organizational factors such as climate, stress, and worker satisfaction. It also should include educative and practical elements that allow reducing excessive alcohol use and its negative consequences (poor performance, bad interpersonal relationships, and bad outcome quality) at work, besides reducing also industrial accidents.

The most frequent work problems were as follows: to invest more time than necessary in an activity, to be told-off because of mistakes, and to have problems with the boss or supervisor. These events have an impact on productivity and represent money loss for the company.

The most frequent accidents were as follows: hand injuries, which are related to heavy machinery operation, basic in the production process of this industry. This reflects the need to consider the physical aspects of the place where activities are performed, as well as the psychosocial factors affecting individuals, all of which will result in benefit of any organization.

Palabras llave : Alcohol use; work stress; organizational climate; work satisfaction; structural equation model.

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