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Abstract

This paper presents findings from an Australian survey of work conditions, coping behaviors and stress among 93 long-distance coach drivers. A tripartite model of coach driver stress is presented. The model proposes that the impacts of job demands (e.g. driving hours) on work-related stress outcomes (e.g. doctor visits) are mediated by a set of maladaptive coping behaviors and responses (e.g. stimulant use, speeding). Correlational analyses of the survey data provided general support for the model. Results suggested that long driving hours provide the single best predictor of maladaptive behaviors such as stimulant use and sleep disturbance among the drivers. The maladaptive behaviors, in turn, consistently predicted stress outcomes such as doctor visits and symptom reports. Direct correlations between job demands and stress outcomes were also consistent with the model, but the correlations were of a lower magnitude. The data suggests that stimulant use and sleep disturbance may be important mediators in the link between job demands and stress outcomes for long-distance coach drivers. Path modelling with larger samples is recommended for future research along the present lines. Implications for work practices within the long-distance transport industry are briefly considered.