Informal Social Status Among Coworkers and Risk of Work-Related Injury Among Nurse Aides in Long-Term Care

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BackgroundA social network measure was used to explore whether one's rank in an informal social hierarchy of nurse aides employed in a single long-term care facility was associated with risk of work-related injury.MethodsSix months of administrative staff schedule data and self-reported injury records were examined. Using survey data, social status rank in the informal hierarchy for each aide was operationalized as the number of coworkers who would approach the aide for advice about work-related matters. Conditional logistic regression was used to model the effect of social status on injury risk; cases were matched to controls consisting of coworkers present on the floor, shift, and date of the injury event. This allowed for a comparison of social status rank within social groups among workers with the same job title.ResultsInjury incidence rates decreased across tertiles of social status rank scores. A non-significant drop in injury risk in the highest tertile of social status was observed (adjusted OR = 0.24 95% CI [0.05, 1.32]).ConclusionFindings of this exploratory study were internally consistent and support a theoretical framework suggesting that patterns of social relations between individuals based on informal social status in the workplace may contribute to differences in workrelated injury risk among individuals with the same job title.

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