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EMPLOYMENT / EDUCATION / TRAINING

Supervisor Support Training Effects on Veteran Health and Work Outcomes in the Civilian Workplace

September, 2018
Article:

This article discusses the development and evaluation of a training intervention to promote positive health and work outcomes for veterans and their families transitioning to civilian life.

Abstract

This randomized controlled trial involved the development and evaluation of a supervisor support training intervention in the civilian workforce called VSST: Veteran-Supportive Supervisor Training. A theoretically based intervention in the workplace is critical to ensuring a smooth transition for service members and their families to civilian life, leading to improved psychological and physical health and improved work outcomes among service members. Thirty-five organizations were recruited and randomized to the VSST training program or a wait list control group. Within those organizations, 497 current or former (post 9/11) service member employees were asked to complete baseline and 3- and 9-month follow-up surveys covering work, family, and health domains. The computerized 1-hr training, and the behavior tracking that followed were completed by 928 supervisors from the participating organizations. Intervention training effects were evaluated using an intent-to-treat approach, comparing outcomes for service members who were in organizations assigned to the training group versus those who were in organizations assigned to the control group. Moderation effects revealed the intervention was effective for employees who reported higher levels of supervisor and coworker support at baseline, demonstrating the importance of the organizational context and trainee readiness. The results did not show evidence of direct effects of the intervention on health and work outcomes. Qualitative data from supervisors who took the training also demonstrated the benefits of the training. This study affirms and adds to the literature on the positive effects of organizational programs that train supervisors to provide social support, thereby improving health and work outcomes of employees who receive more support.

Full Reference

Hammer, L. B., Wan, W. H., Brockwood, K. J., Bodner, T., & Mohr, C. D., 2018. Supervisor support training effects on veteran health and work outcomes in the civilian workplace. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.

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