Predictors of work engagement among Australian non-government drug and alcohol employees: Implications for policy and practice

Vinita Duraisingam, Ann M. Roche, Victoria Kostadinov, Sianne Hodge, Janine Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The alcohol and other drugs (AOD) workforce faces multiple challenges including stigma, limited resources, ideological conflicts and complex demands. An engaged, supported and stable workforce is essential for optimal service provision, quality care, effective harm reduction implementation and cost efficiency. However little research has examined factors that impact worker engagement in the AOD sector. To inform policy and practice on cost efficient service provision and effective workforce development, this study examined a range of potential predictors of work engagement among Australian AOD non-government workers. Methods: An online, cross-sectional survey of 294 non-government AOD workers measuring demographic, work-related psychosocial, and health and wellbeing variables was conducted in New South Wales, Australia. Multiple hierarchical linear regressions were conducted to identify significant predictors of worker engagement. Results: Most AOD workers demonstrated high work engagement levels. Significant predictors of engagement included role clarity, leadership quality, growth opportunities, resilience and social support, and older age. These workers were likely to be more energised, enthusiastic and dedicated in their jobs. Conclusions: This study is an important initial step in understanding work engagement among AOD workers. It offers valuable insights into ways to foster engagement, which in turn may ensure a more sustainable workforce that can deliver high quality care. Workers with high levels of engagement are more likely remain in their AOD roles over longer periods of time, acquire more skills and experience, and be better equipped to address complex demands. Workforce policies and programs specifically designed to enhance leadership skills and role clarity, while enhancing professional growth, resilience, and social supports, particularly for younger workers, are highlighted as essential strategies to promote engagement among AOD workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102638
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Australia
  • Drug and alcohol workers
  • Work engagement
  • Workforce development


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