Client-related work tasks and meaning of work: results from a longitudinal study among eldercare workers in Denmark

  • Pernille Tufte
  • Thomas Clausen
  • Kirsten Nabe-Nielsen
Original Article



To investigate the association between the perception of client-related work tasks and the experience of meaning of work among eldercare workers in the Danish eldercare sector.


We used baseline and follow-up questionnaire data from 3,985 female eldercare workers. The eldercare workers’ perception of the client-related work tasks was measured by six items. Meaning of work was measured by a three-item scale. General linear modelling was used to investigate the association between the client-related work tasks at baseline and experience of meaning of work at follow-up adjusted for job title, type of workplace, and age.


When care workers experience to have time to be flexible in the care provision and to be able to talk and socialize with the elderly, they are significantly more likely to experience meaning of work at follow-up than care workers who occasionally or rarely have this experience. Care workers who frequently experience to have to end a visit prematurely are significantly less likely to experience meaning of work at follow-up than care workers who rarely experience this. Experiences of having time to perform other than pre-planned tasks and to have insufficient time have little impact on experience of meaning of work at follow-up.


This study indicates that to enhance the experience of meaning of work among eldercare workers, improvements of the relational aspects of care work, i.e. the possibilities to talk, socialize, and involve the elderly in the care provision, should be considered.


Meaning of work Client-related work tasks Long-term care Longitudinal analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pernille Tufte
    • 1
  • Thomas Clausen
    • 1
  • Kirsten Nabe-Nielsen
    • 2
  1. 1.The National Research Centre for the Working EnvironmentCopenhagen ØDenmark
  2. 2.Section of Social Medicine, Department of Public HealthUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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