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Occupational Stress

Overview
Definition, contexts, and importance of occupational
stress
Disease and occupational stress
Occupational stressors
The workaholic
Burnout
Interventions

What Is Occupational Stress?


Pertains to sources of stress at work
Involves individual characteristics
Related to the employees role within the organization

Occupational Stress Model

Contexts of occupational stress


1.

Sociocultural

2.

Organizational

3.

Work setting

4.

Interpersonal

5.

Psychological

6.

Biological

7.

Physical/ Environmental

Why Is Occupational Stress


of Concern?
Leads to increased sick days, drug or alcohol
abuse, and early death
Can promote high turnover rates of employees
Liability (i.e., workers compensation, disability,
or litigation)

Did You Know?


Absences attributed to stress tripled between 1995 and
2004
62% of the time when workers called in sick, they were
not really sick
Most heart attacks occur on Mondays

Gender and Occupational


Stress
Stressors that particularly affect women include:

Career blocks
Sexual harassment
Male-dominated climate
Performance pressure
Gender stereotyping
Isolation
Lack of role models

Occupational Stress and


Disease
Physiological effects

Elevated serum cholesterol


Elevated blood pressure
Increased left ventricular mass
Increased catecholamines
High plasma fibrinogen concentrations

Occupational Stress
and Disease (cont.)
Disease states

Coronary artery disease


Obesity
Psychosomatic symptoms
Diabetes
Hypertension
Peptic ulcers

Lack of control over amount of work and


work-related processes appears to be a
major factor in whether stress will affect an
employees health

Occupational Stress
and Disease (cont.)
Psychological effects
Low self-esteem
Increased job tension
Low job satisfaction

Occupational Stressors
Low control (low skill
discretion, low participation in
decision making)
Imbalance between efforts
expended and rewards
received from work (so-called
effort-reward imbalance)
Emotional demands (including
work-home conflict, relocation
demands, lack of
patients/peers/community
understanding of work role,
unrealistic client expectations,
professional isolation due to
institutional racism, emotional
labor, traumatic work
experience and violence from
clients)

Occupational Stressors
Work demands
(particularly work load or
pressure and insufficient
time to complete
scheduled work tasks)
Low support (e.g.,
unsupportive supervisor)
Role issues (e.g., role
ambiguity, role conflict,
conflict between personal
goals and organizational
goals), and
Interpersonal conflict
(e.g., bullying).

The Workaholic
Immersing oneself excessively in work at the expense of
nonwork activities
Identifying oneself more with the role of a worker rather
than as an individual
Are you a person who happens to be a student, or are
you a student who happens to be a person?

The Workaholic (cont.)

Two factors for classifying workaholics


(Naughton, 1987)

Career commitment (CC)


Obsession-compulsion (OC)

Naughton believed there were three types


of workaholics:
1. Job-involved workaholics (high CC, low OC)
2. Compulsive workaholics (high CC, high OC)
3. Non workaholics (low CC, low OC)

The Workaholic (cont.)


Scott et al. (1997) classified workaholics as:
Compulsive-dependent
Perfectionist

Spence & Robbins (1992) proposed a workaholic triad:


Work involvement, drive, and work enjoyment

Ways to Combat
Workaholism
Focus on the work you most like doing, work
that you wouldnt mind doing for free
Use your time; dont let it use you
Build friendships at work
Schedule open time into your work life
Learn to say no sometimes
Create an environment you enjoy working in
Look for the positives in your job

Burnout
Adverse stress reaction to work with
psychological, psychophysiological, and
behavioral components
Symptoms include:

Diminished sense of humor


Skipping rest and meals
Increased overtime/no vacation
Increased physical complaints
Social withdrawal
Changed job performance
Self-medication
Internal changes

Five Stages of Burnout

Stage 1: The honeymoon


Stage 2: Fuel shortage
Stage 3: Chronic symptoms
Stage 4: Crisis
Stage 5: Hitting the wall

How to Combat Burnout


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Identify the value and meaning of your job


List all activities you like and rank them in order of
importance
Create a support group
Start a physical self-care program
Start a psychological self-care program
Do something silly every day

Outcomes of occupational
stress
Psychological outcomes
emotional exhaustion
psychological distress
anxiety,
depression
mood disturbance
lowered morale
job dissatisfaction
depersonalization (feeling personally detached from the job)
personal accomplishment
reduced quality of working life
reduced life satisfaction

Outcomes..
Physiological outcomes
physical health symptoms
fatigue
low back pain
protracted neuroendocrine (cortisol)
reaction (stress hormone)
cardiovascular disease
Behavioral outcomes
absenteeism

Job Stress Risk Management


Model
Identify the problems using focused group discussions or

questionnaires

Assess the risks at the workplace

Control of the risk

Risk assessment
The number of people exposed to the risk
The different types of people who are exposed and their
special needs, e.g. new workers, women, young
workers
How they are exposed to the risk
How often they are exposed
How long they are exposed for
The combination of hazards they are exposed to (e.g.
musculoskeletal strain as well as job demand)
How serious the harm could be
What the law says about risk control
The work processes involved, e.g. customer service

Interventions

Life-situation interventions
Perception interventions
Emotional arousal interventions
Physiological arousal interventions

THE END