Personality and coping with professional demands: a behavioral genetics analysis.
ABSTRACT Work-related mental health problems lead to individual ill-being but also absenteeism and early retirement from work. As such, it is desirable to diagnose strain and coping deficits before mental or physical symptoms occur in order to provide interventions early. Work engagement, resistance to stress, and occupational attitude toward life are three facets of coping with professional demands that are related to psychological health (Kieschke & Schaarschmidt, 2003). Personality, defined as characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors over time and across situations, is also associated with health and well-being. To understand who becomes ill and why and to provide adequate interventions, we investigated the relations between personality and coping with professional demands, as well as the etiological basis of this relation. Personality and coping with professional demands (work engagement, resistance to stress, and occupational attitude toward life) were assessed in a sample of 302 monozygotic and dizygotic adult twin pairs. Correlations between personality and coping with professional demands were moderate (r range: -0.61 to 0.37). All scales except occupational attitude toward life showed significant heritabilities. Genetic and environmental influences on coping with professional demands were largely independent of genetic and environmental effects on personality. These findings suggest that interventions should focus on work engagement, resistance to stress, and occupational attitude toward life without specific considering of personality.