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Hornung, Severin; Weigl, Matthias; Glaser, Jürgen; Angerer, Peter (2016): Impact of inter-role conflicts on physicians' mental health. In: Vasile, C. (ed.) : Mental health. Actual views in psychology, medicine and anthropology. Bucharest, RO: Editura Universitara: Editura Universitara. pp. 85-89
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The longer-term impact of interferences between work and personal life on mental health was examined in a panel study of junior medical doctors. Survey data were gathered at four measurement points over a period of almost a decade (2004-2014) and analyzed using structural equation modeling. The sample consisted of N = 340 physicians, who participated in all four waves. Work-to-family and family-to-work conflict (WFC and FWC) were measured with translated and adapted versions of established scales. Mental health was operationalized with the widely used state and trait scales for depression and anxiety by Spielberger. Controlling for dispositional (trait) components of depression and anxiety at baseline (T1), cumulative exposure to WFC in the first three waves (T1-T3) was a significant predictor of the frequency of symptoms of (state) depression and anxiety seven years later (T4). In contrast, FWC explained only marginal variance. Results confirm the primary relevance of WFC over FWC for occupational health - above and beyond the effects of personality. Implications for research and practice are discussed with reference to prevention strategies for work-related impairments of mental health. Assets of the study are the highly relevant occupational setting, methodological rigor of the research design, use of established scales, and advanced statistical analyses. Limitations include a narrow set of variables and analyzed relationships as well as the inability to fully control for dynamics in work situations.