Top News 2020

English summaries

English Summaries (06/2020)

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Anne Mäkikangas, Soile Juutinen, Atte Oksanen & Harri Melin

Remote work and changes in work engagement during the coronavirus crisis in spring 2020 among employees in higher education

The purpose of this study is to examine the development of work engagement and its predictors during the lockdown and period of remote work caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The study uses two-month follow-up data, collected from 790 employees of Tampere Universities in April 2020 (T1) and June 2020 (T2). Using a person-centered approach, we utilized latent profile analysis to identify different groups in terms of their level of work engagement and changes therein. We found five longitudinal work engagement profiles with different levels and different kinds of temporal change. Half (50%) of the employees had a high level of work engagement at baseline, which increased during the two-month follow-up period. For about a third (36%) of the employees, work engagement remained the same. Decreasing levels of work engagement characterized 14 percent of the participants who had lower levels of work engagement to begin with. In addition to the background variables, the functionality of the workspace at home, support for remote work provided by the university, job crafting, and self-efficacy accounted for the stability or increased level of work engagement during the follow-up period. The results of the study show that experiences of forced remote work differ. The level of work engagement at the beginning of lockdown played a role in its later development: those whose level of work engagement was at least moderate when remote work began managed to maintain and even increase engagement in the remote work situation. It is important to support remote workers by appropriately managing remote work through improving home workspace functionality, and by supporting the employees’ proactive development of remote work.

Keywords: covid-19, remote work, job-related well-being, work engagement, job crafting, self-efficacy


Katariina Salmela-Aro, Katja Upadyaya & Lauri Hietajärvi

Work-related well-being profiles among Finnish school teachers and principals during the spring of Covid-19

This study investigated latent profiles of work-related well-being by examining Finnish school teachers’ and principals’ remote-work burnout and engagement. The participants were 1 182 (83% female, age = 48 (SD = 9.5) years) school teachers and 644 principals (41% female, age = 50.6 (SD = 7.7) years) from across Finland. The research questions were analyzed using latent profile analysis, which indicated that four remote well-being profiles could be identified among teachers: 42 percent of the teachers experienced simultaneously high remote-work engagement and low burnout (‘engaged’); 11 percent belonged to ‘an engaged but burned out’ profile, which was characterized by low energy and high exhaustion at work; 37 percent experienced an average level of remote-work burnout and engagement (‘burnout risk group’), and 10 percent of the school teachers experienced simultaneously high remote-work burnout and a low level of engagement (‘severely burned out’). Among school principals three latent profiles were identified: 36 percent of the school principals belonged to the ‘engaged’ profile, 46 percent belonged to the ‘burnout risk’ profile, and 18 percent belonged to the ‘burned out’ profile. These results suggest that compared to earlier studies among the same occupational groups, during the Covid-19 pandemic (2020 spring) school principals reported lower levels of engagement, and teachers experienced higher levels of burnout than during previous years. Slightly over one-third of the teachers and school principals experienced high engagement and burnout also during the special conditions due to Covid-19 spring term, however, the crisis in organizing education during the Covid-19 increased the risk for burnout especially among teachers, and manifested as decreases in school principals’ work engagement. 

Keywords: remote work, job burnout, job engagement, demands and resources, principals, school teachers, latent profile analysis, Covid-19


Sanna Moilanen, Emmi Lindroos, Asko Tolvanen, Eija Sevón, Laura Autio & Anna Rönkä

Daily stress and how to handle it: A mobile diary study of students in higher education

The aim of this mobile diary study was to explore daily academic stress, strategies to cope with the stress, as well as connections between coping strategies and the change in daily stress levels. In the study, 86 university students reported their level of stress and the strategies they used to cope with stress once a day, for one week. The mobile diary included both structured questions (e.g., academic stress) along with open-ended questions on the means students used to cope with stress. The students received and responded to the questions with their mobile phones via text messages. The results showed a large individual variation in the level of daily stress. Seven types of strategies dealing with stress were identified, including promoting studies and physical activity. It was found that social relations, promoting studies, time management, and positive thinking as strategies to cope with stress were effective in terms of the stress level change between consecutive days.

Keywords: diary study, academic stress, students in higher education, coping


Merja Kuusela

How does the therapist answer a client’s question? Conversation analytical research about the ending phase of a therapy

This research investigates how the therapist responds to a client’s questions at the ending phase of one cognitive-behavioural therapy. In therapy, a client rarely asks questions, therefore, the therapist’s response is unusual. The exceptional situation sets challenges for the therapist; how can the therapist act professionally when the client asks a question? The data is gathered from the ending phase of a therapy, where eight randomly picked sessions were recorded. The method implemented is conversation analysis. The results indicate that the therapist answers the client’s questions in three ways. First, the therapist takes the stance of an expert by relating to her own experience while disclosing it to the client. In the second approach, the therapist does not disclose the information the client was after, but rather explains a generalized principle. In the third way of responding, the therapist does not answer the questions, and thus, does not take an expert’s stance. The results provide example methods of responding to clients’ questions. The question’s content and formulation does have some impact on the responses, but the findings focus on the therapist’s responses and the epistemic relations. In the end, I discuss how the therapist can be seen to teach the boundaries of the self when she answers the questions and shows boundaries of knowledge.

Keywords: conversation analysis, answering, cognitive-behavioural therapy, therapy ending, epistemics