How Adoption of Coping Behaviors determines Construction Workers’ Safety : A Quantitative and Qualitative Investigation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number105035
Journal / PublicationSafety Science
Online published15 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


Safety problems have long been prominent in the construction industry, with huge numbers of injuries and fatal incidents annually among construction workers. Construction workers also suffer high levels of stress, and unmanageable stress can lead to problems of reduced safety. Although coping behaviors are the key in the stress management process, little research has been conducted to investigate the effect of coping behaviors on construction workers’ stress and safety. The current study applied mixed research methods to fill this research gap. Over three hundred construction workers participated in a questionnaire survey, and another 24 were interviewed. Using methodological research triangulation, a Coping Behaviors–Stress–Safety model was established for construction workers, which demonstrated that 1) different types of problem-focused coping behaviors have varying effects on construction workers’ stress, with proactive coping reducing but confrontive coping escalating their stress; 2) three out of four emotion-focused behaviors consistently spur emotional and physical stress in construction workers; 3) seeking emotional support behaviors were found to not affect the workers’ stress and safety; 4) higher levels of stress could promote safety incompliance; and 5) the adoption of proactive coping and planful problem-solving could directly improve construction workers’ safety participation, while avoidance behavior triggers safety incompliance. Practical recommendations are made to facilitate the adoption of effective coping behaviors by construction workers, including team-building exercises, safety empowerment and stress management programs. The findings could enhance our understanding of stress management and imply an alternative way to improve health and safety in the construction industry.

Research Area(s)

  • Construction workers, Coping behaviors, Mixed research methods, Safety, Stress

Bibliographic Note

Information for this record is supplemented by the author(s) concerned.