Job demands and resources : flourishing and wellbeing in the New Zealand Defence Force : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Occupational wellbeing is a pertinent issue that has been widely researched, however, there is a dearth of research that investigates occupational wellbeing in military work environments that do not focus on deployments, combat exposure, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In line with the positive psychology approach to research, this study aims to fill a gap in the existing literature by investigating general military job demands in relation to both positive and negative psychological outcomes, including the positive psychology concept of flourishing. The Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model provided a robust theoretical framework for the present research to examine the predictors of psychological distress, wellbeing, flourishing, and turnover intention with a sample of New Zealand Defence Force personnel. The inclusion of Army, Navy, Air Force, and civilian personnel working within the New Zealand Defence Force formed a large sample, providing substantial statistical power to detect small group differences and the relationships between variables. The primary job demand investigated in this study was perceived unmanageable workload. Both personal resources (resilience and social support) and job resources (self-reported job resources and perceptions of leadership) were incorporated into the JD-R framework. This research provided strong support for the main effects that were hypothesised based on the JD-R model. Minimal support was found for the mediated or moderated relationships proposed by the JD-R model. Overall, this research concludes that among New Zealand Defence Force personnel, good resilience, social support, and job resources are associated with higher levels of flourishing, greater wellbeing, less turnover intention, lower psychological distress, and in some small part the detrimental effect that a perceived unmanageable workload has on psychological distress may be reduced.