Workplace Stress - Biological Psychology AS

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The place in which we work can significantly affect our stress levels.
NOISE ­ Can affect concentration which leads to stress.
TEPERATURE ­ The hotter the temperature, the more likely we are to be
aggressive, leading to frustration and hence stress.
Halpern (1995) ­ Increase in temperature can lead to frustration and
stress, and even aggression. This is possibly because of lack of control and
physical discomfort.…read more

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The amount of work we are required to do can affect our stress levels. Work
overload means having more work to do than the time given to do it.
QUANTITATIVE ­ Having more work to do than the time to do it in.
QULITATIVE ­ The work you have to do is more complex under the work-
Wallace (1999) ­ Lawyers reported increased conflict and stress at home
when they were overloaded at work.…read more

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More stress is felt in situations where the person feels they have little or no control.
Logan and Ganster (2005) ­ Managers at work with supportive supervisors
reported an increase feeling of control and therefore greater job satisfaction and
reduced stress.
Weiss (1972) ­ Demonstrated that predictability coupled with control led to
reduced stress in the executive rats.
Brady (1958) ­ Executive monkey study found that having control over stressful
events had a very negative effect on the monkeys.
Johnson and Sarason (1978) ­ Found that participants with a high internal
locus of control were less likely to suffer from negative effects of stress.
The problem with these studies is that none of them actually studied workplace stress.
Michael Marmot et al. (1997) ­ Investigated stress in real work environments (the
civil service) and found that low job control was associated with greater risk of
heart attacks and other stress related disorders, such as cancer, stroke and
gastrointestinal disorders. This means that giving employees greater job control
may reduce stress and stress related illnesses.…read more

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There are many possible sources of stress in the workplace, these include:
Job insecurity
Long working hours
Lack of support
Relationships (e.g., Bullying)
Low pay
High workload
Unclear job role
Work too challenging or not challenging enough
Lack of control
Lack of facilities or rest breaks
Role conflict
Lack of involvement in decisions…read more

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Finishers in a noisy sawmill had little control over the pace of their work. The
quantity of their work dictated everyone else's pay.
Stress-related hormones and stress-related absenteeism in finishers were
measured and these were compared with other workers in the factory.
There were higher levels of stress-related illness and more stress hormones in
finishers than other workers. This shows that a combination of work
environment, work overload and control leads to greater stress.
Individual differences (e.g. Personality type) might have been a factor affecting
the stress response of different workers.
Because the study is not done in a laboratory, there are uncontrollable
variables. This means that a number of factors could be causing stress, e.g. lack
of control or poor environment.…read more


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