Stress in the Workplace


Johansson - AO1

Aim - Investigate if work stressors increase chance of stress-related illness


  • Group of 14 highly stressed 'finishers' and 10 low stressed cleaners at a Sweedish saw mill
  • Finishers had high stress as had high responsibility (production determined all wages) repetitive work and machine-paced (less control)
  • Levels of stress hormones were measured in urine
  • Records of absences and stress-related illnesses kept


  • High stress finishers secreted more stress hormones than cleaners
  • High stress finishers has mores stress-related illnesses

Conclusion: Combination of work stressors increases chance of getting a stress-related illnesses

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Johansson - AO2

  • P - Study does not identify main workplace stressor
  • - Included repetitveness, responsibility and lack of control but were not individually assessed
  • - This doesn't help solve workplace stressors accurately
  • - The findings are objective and scientific
  • - Measuring stress by hormone levels instead of a questionnaire is much more valid
  • - However some people with high hormone levels will not feel stress so may not be a valid measure of stress
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Marmot et al - AO1

Aim: Investigate relationship between control in workplace and heart disease


  • 7372 british civil servents aged 35-55 studied over a 6 year period
  • Questionnaire at beginning to measure job control and screened for heart disease by doctor
  • After 5 years, we re-assessed


  • Pps who intially reported low levels of control were more likely to have developed heart disease
  • This was not linked to employment grade or risk factors

Conclusion: Lack of control is a significant workplace stressor

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Marmot et al - AO2

  • - Results influenced by social desirability
  • E - Using self-report questionnaires as a measure of control allows Pps to lie or exaggerate
  • - Makes study less valid
  • - Study uses correlational evidence
  • - Link between control in workplace and heart disease is not causal. There are other factors, especially lifestyle choices which are involved
  • - This reduces the validity of study
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