Dissertação de mestrado apresentada ao Programa de Pós-graduação Stricto Sensu em Psicologia do Centro Universitário de Brasília UniCEUB.

: Prof.ª Dr.ª Amalia Raquel Pérez- Nebra.


In face of today’s challenges, occupational stress and coping strategies have increasingly become the focus of research. Among these strategies, social support has received special attention (COBB, 1976; LAZARUS; FOLKMAN, 1987; SIQUEIRA, 2008; STROEBE; STROEBE, 1996). The aim of this study was to investigate how social support has helped people deal with stressful situations in the workplace, considering its importance to people’s lives. In order to reach this general aim, two studies were carried out, each consisting of two stages. Study 1, a quantitative one, sought to describe the level of satisfaction with social support and perceived organizational support by employing a scale that summarized factors of the perceived organizational support (Stage 1). Fifty-one volunteer workers who were also undergraduate students in Brasilia (DF), participated in the study. The findings showed that the support of managers and colleagues seemed relevant in organizational life. Stage 2 sought to describe the relationship between support, stress, and perceived organizational support, three instruments were employed: the Perception of Social Support at Work Scale (GOMIDE Jr.; GUIMARÃES; DAMÁSIO, 2004, apud SIQUEIRA; GOMIDE Jr., 2008); the Perceived Organizational Support Scale (TAMAYO et al., 2000, apud TAMAYO, 2002); and the Stress at Work Scale (PASCHOAL; TAMAYO, 2004) and 157 workers from DF participated. The findings showed an association with overload stress (in a negative way), with emotional social support, and with management style (in a positive way). The remaining variables showed no significant impact on stress. Study 2, a qualitative one, sought to describe the stressors in the workplace environment, to whom the workers resorted to, and the kind of perceived social support. A structured interview in groups based on the items of the coping dimension – social support (FOLKMAN; LAZARUS, 1988, apud SAVÓIA; SANTANA; MEJIAS, 1996) (Stage 1) was used. The same 51 volunteers of Study 1 (Stage 1) participated in this study. The findings showed a lack of social support in the workplace in aspects such as: incivility of colleagues and managers, such as lack of cooperation: breach of psychological contract and conflict of values. In Stage 2, which aimed to further analyze how social support has contributed, interviews focused on groups were also employed, as well as one individual interview, both unstructured and prompted by sentence completion. This was a longitudinal study involving ten volunteers who had participated in the previous stage. The findings confirmed the stressors associated to manager and colleague attitudes, as in previous studies. Access to the leader featured in a restricted way, and the search for social support was recurrent. The attitudes, particularly of the leader, seem to affect both positively and negatively the stress of the worker. Receiving social support seems to be important for the worker, as it affects not only one’s working life but also one’s social life. The study suggests that investments in people’s development and education should be associated to the affective dimensions in the leaders’ work and to the workers’ coping strategies.
Social Support. Organizational Support. Stress. Coping. Work Organizations.

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