Occupational Health Psychology

Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) is an emerging new subarea of psychology that is concerned with employee health, safety, and well-being. OHP deals with a wide range of topics that concern employee health and safety, including accidents and injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational stress, violence, work-family issues, and workplace health promotion. It is one of a variety of fields concerned with employee health and safety, such as ergonomics, industrial hygiene, medicine, nursing, and public health. Psychologists interested in OHP come from a variety of other areas of psychology, including clinical, developmental, health, human factors, industrial/organizational and social, with about half coming from industrial/organizational.

The field of OHP has evolved rapidly, starting first in Europe, and then migrating to the U.S. There are a number of graduate programs, mostly at the Ph.D. level, that offer training in this area, generally treated as a specialization within an established graduate program in health, industrial/organizational, social, or other area of psychology. There are two major societies devoted to OHP (see links below), the European Association of OHP and the its American counterpart the Society for OHP. There are two journals devoted specifically to this field, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology and Work & Stress, although research on OHP can be found in many journals across psychology and other fields. There are two conferences devoted specifically to OHP, one in Europe and the other in the U.S. In the U.S., the development of the OHP field has been encouraged by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that has provided funding to Universities to begin OHP training, and by their sponsorship of the Work, Stress, and Health biannual conference. The development of this OHP page was initially supported in part by an APA/NIOSH seed grant to help USF start our OHP program.

Occupational Health Psychology At USF

USF offers an OHP program as a specialization within our I/O program, and about a third of our I/O students are also OHP students. The program is supported by a training grant from NIOSH through the USF Sunshine Education and Research Center. The Sunshine ERC is one of 18 occupational health and safety centers funded by NIOSH throughout the U.S. Two have OHP programs: USF and Colorado State University (the CSU program is attached to both their I/O and social psychology PhD programs). Our program includes interdisciplinary training opportunities both inside and soutside of the classroom.

OHP Resources

Addictions in the workplace. DrugRehab.com's Which Jobs Have the Highest Addication Rates?

Amy Foresterís Guide to Workplace Bullying.

OHP Bibliography. A number of sources, but I haven't kept it updated.

OHP-Related Measures. Links to scales we've developed as well as other resources on scales.

OHP Journals. Journals that publish OHP-related work.

USF OHP training. Link to the USF Psychology website.


Link to National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) resources.

Society of Occupational Health Psychology, SOHP. American OHP society.

European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, EAOHP. European OHP society.

OHP listserv Open listserv for those interested in OHP.

Copyright Paul E. Spector, All rights reserved, September 15, 2013.