J Dent Hyg Sci.  2019 Jun;19(2):113-121. 10.17135/jdhs.2019.19.2.113.

Effect of Emotional Labor on Somatization among Dental Hygienists in an Area

  • 1Department of Dental Hygiene, Vision College of Jeonju, Jeonju 55069, Korea. kimmj@jvision.ac.kr


We investigated somatization symptoms experienced by dental hygienists due to stress from emotional labor. Our aim was to provide basic research data that could be useful in the development of efficient stress management schemes for this occupational group.
We analyzed data collected from 208 dental hygienists working in Jeollabuk-do Province, Korea. To measure the level and intensity of emotional labor among research participants, we used the Korean Emotional Labor Questionnaire. We used the Somatization Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) to measure the level of somatization symptoms among participants.
On analyzing the level of emotional labor and somatization symptoms according to general characteristics, participants aged 23~25 years showed high scores for stress due to emotional labor (p<0.05). Working 5 days per week, subjective health status, and organizational support and protection systems were found to correlate with the level of stress due to emotional labor (p<0.05). In the analysis of correlations between emotional labor and somatization symptoms, scoring high across all domains of emotional labor was associated with scoring high for somatization symptoms in the subdomains of emotional labor. When emotional labor and demographical variables were used as independent variables, having higher scores for emotional labor and having poor subjective health status were found to be associated with having higher levels of somatization symptoms (p<0.05).
Our results showed that working at night and organizational support and protection systems were correlated with emotional labor and somatization symptoms. Measures must be taken at the organizational level to reduce emotional labor and somatization symptoms.


Dental hygienist; Emotional labor; Somatic symptom

MeSH Terms

Dental Hygienists*
Diagnostic Self Evaluation
Occupational Groups
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