Health & SafetyExecutive
The scale of occupational stress:A further analysis of the impact of demographic factors and type of job
Andrew Smith, Carolyn Brice, Alison Collins,Victoria Matthews & Rachel McNamara
Centre for Occupational and Health PsychologySchool of Psychology, Cardiff UniversityPO Box 901, Cardiff CF10 3YG
A recent survey of a random population sample showed that about 20% of the workers reported veryhigh or extremely high levels of stress at work. Preliminary analyses suggested that the scale of stressmay vary considerably and the present report describes further analyses of the data reported in HSEContract Research Report 265/2000. The aim of the analyses was to identify factors associated withperceptions of stress at work. The results do not allow conclusions about causal links between thefactors and reported stress. Analyses of the demographic variables showed that gender had littleoverall effect although it did interact with other factors, such as full-time/part-time employment. Themiddle aged workers (30-50 year olds) had slightly higher proportions in the high reported stresscategory than those at the extremes of the age range. Educational attainment was found to be animportant factor, with those educated to degree level (or equivalent) having a higher proportion in thehigh reported stress category. Marital status also influenced the reporting of stress, with those whowere widowed/divorced or separated having a greater proportion in the high reported stress category.Ethnicity also influenced reporting of stress, with the non-white group having a greater proportion in thehigh reported stress category. The number of non-whites in the sample was small and it is essential totry to replicate the present findings with a much larger group. The occupational variables were alsofound to have a large impact on reporting of stress. Reported stress was greater in full-timeemployment than part-time employment, increased with salary, and there was a greater proportion inthe high reported stress category in social group II. Reported stress was found to be highest inteachers, nurses and managers. Levels of reported stress increased as a direct function of the numberof critical features present.This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive. Its contents,including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author(s) alone and do notnecessarily reflect HSE policy.
This study reports a further analysis of some of the data reported in HSE Contract Research Report 265/2000. You may alsowish to refer to this report, which is available from HSE Books as shown on the back cover.