Kanner et al - Stress and Daily Hassles
Method: 100 adults completed a questionairre each month which asked them to choose which hassles they had experienced that month from a list of 117. They had to rate each hassle to show how severe it had been for them. This was repeated for 9 months.
Results: Certain hassles occured more frequently than others, such as worrying about weight, family health and the rising cost of living. They found that those with high scores we more likely to have physical and psychological health problems. They also found that scores on an uplifts scale were negatively related to ill health - these events may reduce stress or protect us from it.
Conclusion: Daily hassles are linked to stress and health, with a stronger correlation that that found with the SRRS.
Evaluation: The weaknesses of correlational methods are revelant here - it isn't possible to establish a cause and effect relationship between the variables. Using questionairres resulted in quantitative data, which is useful for making comparisons, but they don't allow participants to explain why certain experiences are stressful to them, so potentially useful data is missed. They rely on honesty in order for the results to be valid - participants may not be completely truthful about admitting mundane daily events that they find stressful. They also rely on the participants' recall being accurate.
Marmot et al - Lack of Control in the Workplace
Method: Over 7000 civil service employees working in London were surveyed. Information was obtained about their grade of employment, how much control they felt they had, how much support they felt they had, etc.
Results: When the medical histories of these employees were followed up 5 yeard later, those on lower employment grades who felt less control over their work were found to be more likelyto have cardiovascular disorders. Participants on the lowest grade of employment were four times more likely to die of a heart attack than those on the highest grade.
Conclusion: Believing that you have little control over your work influences work stress and the development of illness.
Evaluation: The study only looked at 'white collar' work, so the results may not apply to other jobs. Smoking was found to be common in those who developed illnesses. So, those who felt less control at work were more likely to smoke - and the smoking caused the heart problems rather than stress. Other factors (diet, exercise) may be linked to job grade and could be causing illness rather that the perceived lack of control and illness. Data was obtained using questionnaires. This may have encourages the participants to be more truthfult than they would have been if interviewed. Some people may have been concerned about admitting to stress at work in case it harmed their job prospects.
Frankenhaeuser- Stress Levels in Sawmill Workers
Method: Frankenhaeuser studied 2 groups of workers at a sawmill. One group had the repetitive task of feeding logs into a machine all day. the job was very noisy and the workers were socially isolated. They didn't have much control over their work as the machine dictated how quickly they should feed the logs in. The other group had a different task which gave them more control and more social contact. Stress levels were measured by testing urine samples and blood pressure.
Results: The workers who had minimal control and social contact had higher levels of stress hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) in their urine. They were more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and stomach ulcers.
Conclusion: A lack of control and social contact at work can lead to stress.
Evaluation: This was a field experiment, so it has high ecological validity. The findings are supported by Marmot's study. However, it doesn't take individual differences into account - some individuals may just be more prone to stress. The results could have been affected by extraneous variables, such as how much the workers were paid.