Occupational - stress at work

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Being able to...I,A,M
identify, avoid & manage workplace stressors to enhance employee well-being is not easy - but it is important
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Stress-related illnesses caused by work are...
preventable. Employers have a legal responsibility to reduce or remove anything at work that could make you ill and that includes workplace stress.
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***Cannon, 1929***
defined stress as the person's internal physiological state when experiencing threatening or exciting situations (e.g. fight or flight reaction)
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***Cooper et al., 2001***
Stressors can be defined as the antecedent conditions that produce a strain within the individual
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APA (2009)
found 65% of employees reported that work is a significant source of stress
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Not everyone...
responds in same way to stress
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Hans Selye (1907-1982)
General Adaptation Syndrome. Interested in relationship between stress&body’s immunological response to stress.model predicts when confronted with a threat,an individual responds instinctively in “fight or flight” All tolerate diff levels of stress
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GAS Model – Three Steps to Stress...
1st Stage – Alarm, 2nd Stage – Resistance, 3rd Stage – Exhaustion
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GAS Model – Three Steps to Stress - 1st stage
Alarm: Outside stressor detected, & body responds by preparing itself by increasing cortisol & adrenaline levels
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GAS Model – Three Steps to Stress - 2nd stage
Resistance: Body continues to release cortisol, begins tapping stores of sugars, & then fats in order meet demands on ongoing stressor
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GAS Model – Three Steps to Stress - 3rd stage
Exhaustion: Body run out of fats & sugars to draw on & long-term release of cortisol taken its toll – leaves individual weakened
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Szabo et al. 2012
Health outcomes of stress - Linked to negative effects cardiovascular, renal & pulmonary systems
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Health outcomes of stress
neurological changes caused by stress (as described by GAS framework) – especially in case of chronic stress – are correlated with many negative health outcomes, including Immunosuppression Melancholic depression Aneroxia nervosa (Tsigos et al. 2002
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Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 - model
Transactional Model of Stress & Coping
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Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 - Transactional Model of Stress & Coping - background
Why is that one person can work on lots of projects at work & show no signs of stress, where another person is working on one project & appears very stressed? Work by Lazarus and colleagues helped us understand this better
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Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 - Transactional Model of Stress & Coping - explanation
stress not from the event itself but from one’s interpretation of the event, or.. ..appraisal of what the event means, and whether it is a threat, along with evaluation of what resources the person has with which to react to the event (Lazarus, 1999)
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Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 - Transactional Model of Stress & Coping - coping
Coping follows appraisal & represents person’s emotional response to the events meaning People display differing coping strategies Stress, and coping with stress is a PROCESS
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Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 - Transactional Model of Stress & Coping - what critics say of it
: i) of little applied use; ii) limited evidence found on what determines how well a person will cope (Dewe & Trenberth, 2004)
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Steven Hobfoll (1989) - model
Conservation of Resources (COR) Model
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Steven Hobfoll (1989) - Conservation of Resources Model - explanation
Stress set of resources that people seek to acquire & maintain in order to accommodate, withstand & overcome potential threats
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Steven Hobfoll (1989) - Conservation of Resources Model - examples of resources
Home, clothing, living arrangements, financial security, personal characteristics (i.e., self-esteem & autonomy) and energies (i.e., time & knowledge)
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Steven Hobfoll (1989) - Conservation of Resources Model - stress =
when loss of resources, or a threat of loss of resources which depletes your resources
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Steven Hobfoll (1989) - Conservation of Resources Model - evaluation
Research support varies for model.Some critical that it is so broad&includes almost everything-argued to undermine its usefulness-as it is difficult to think of anything that might not fit the definition of stressor(Ganster&Perrewe, 2010)
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Karasek, 1979 - model
Job Demands-Resources (JDR) Model
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Karasek, 1979 - Job Demands-Resources Model - explanation
stress results from mismatches between job demands & the resources available to the employee; All jobs have demands requiring resources to be expended... Stress caused when demands outweigh resources of an employee
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Karasek, 1979 - Job Demands-Resources Model - research
Research has been largely supportive e.g. Bakker et al. 2007, Tims et al. 2013
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Bakker et al. 2007
research support for JDR model - Study of 800 Finnish teachers found stress levels depended on job resources available & their ability to deal with significant stress associated with disruptive students
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Tims et al. 2013
research support for JDR-study on impact of job crafting on job resources found job crafting was positively related to employees’ increased resources & resulted in positive outcomes-increased work engagement & job satisfaction, & decreased burnout
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Some common stressors
Role demands Information overload Work-life tradeoffs.Interpersonal challenges.physical stressors (i.e., noise), workload, work pace, work schedule, time rigidity, perceived control, emotional labour, & task content]
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Role demands
At work we have a variety of roles, and expectations placed on us can be stressful Researchers have been active in studying such demands Role ambiguity: A lack of clarity regarding one’s work roles Role conflict:Having multiple contradictory demands
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Role demands - research
Eatough, et al. 2011...Nixon, et al. 2011
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Eatough, et al. 2011
role demands-research-Meta-analysis of 42 studies found role ambiguity negatively correlated with job satisfaction, which in turn predicted organizational citizenship behaviour(OCB).Role conflict was negatively associated with job satisfaction & OCB
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Nixon, et al. 2011
role demands-research-meta-analysis-relationship between occupational stressors&physiological symptoms-found role conflict had significant association with 5 out of 8 physical symptoms studied,including back pain,gastro problems&sleep disturbances.
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Information Overload
All the “being available” 24/7 is leading to information overload = being exposed to too much information or data. 50% queried said they had been sent work emails from bosses after hours, including evenings, weekends & while on holiday (Gibson, 2014
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Konig et al.2005
Information overload. Inability to ‘unplug’ from so much information actually impacts on effective performance at work...because multi-tasking & fragmented attention is related to decrease in focus, efficiency & mental acuity
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Information overload - movement
Large organisations e.g.,VW&Deutsche Telekom have moved towards stopping evening emails.Others in both France&Germany have started to look at no email after 6pm&email free Fridays.Daimler Group-working on the elimination of Vacation Email overload
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Work-Life Tradeoffs
Only so many hours in a day & only so much energy to everything we want/ need to do. As a caregiver to children, aging parents or other dependents – then there is even less time for oneself!
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Work-Life Tradeoffs - commonly studied
One commonly studied is work-family conflict = when demands from work & non-work domains negatively affect on another
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Work-Life Tradeoffs - work-family conflict
related to many important outcomes Decreased work & life satisfaction (Kossek & Ozek, 1998) Decreased self-assessed & general work performance (Gilboa et al. 2008) Increased feelings of negative emotions such as guilt & hostility (Judge et al. 2006)
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Work-Life Tradeoffs - work-family conflict - Allen et al., 2012
Risk factors for experiencing work-to-family conflict&family-to-work conflict-include neuroticism&negative affect...while internal locus of control,optimisim,higher self-efficacy&positive affect-linked with lower levels of work-family conflict
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Allen & Kibruz (2012)
Work-Life Tradeoffs - work-family conflict -Mindfulness may help working parents
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Interpersonal Challenges
Interpersonal stress stemming from conflicts with managers is commonplace (Skakon et al. 2010) Forms of interpersonal stressors can be serious such as bullying or an abusive supervisor Co-workers and customers can also be a source of stress
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Yang et al., 2014
Interpersonal Challenges - A climate of mistreatment – an organizational climate that supports bullying and aggression, can lead to increased strain & more negative job attitudes
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***Sonnentag & Fritz, 2015***
Stress can lead to elevated adrenaline levels, blood cortisol, heart rate and blood pressure
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Stress (particularly increased cortisol levels caused by stress) is related to higher incidence of illness & disease, including:
Type II diabetes (Lundberg, 2005)
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Other research links job stress to:
Alcohol & tabacco misuse (Peltzer et al. 2009). Insomnia (Yeh et al. 2010)
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***Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2001***
Acute bullying, in the workplace, even a single incident, is associated with strong negative emotions. At the individual level, impacts can include depression
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***Bannai & Tamakoshi, 2014***
Psychological Consequences of Job Stress - found that working beyond 40 hours a week was associated with poor psychological health (depression and anxiety)
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Psychological consequences of job stress - rumination
Those who ruminate over problems such as being evaluated have greater difficulty learning new tasks (Watson et al. 2013)
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Wang et al. 2013
Psychological consequences of job stress - rumination - Ruminating at night about past events – such as negative customer interactions can even affect your mood the next day! (and not in a good way)
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Tang et al. 2001
Study of Chinese teachers found employee’ pro-activity & self-efficacy had a negative correlation with burnout; which in turn linked to negative mental health outcomes
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Behavioural consequences of stress
Withdrawal from the organization: could be – lack of engagement, tardiness, absenteeism, or even leaving the organization (Podsakoff et al. 2007)
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Crawford, 2014
Survey of 2,000 then 20% reported they had taken time off due to work stress
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McFarlin & Fals-Stewart, 2002
behavioural consequences of stress - Employees are twice as likely to be absent the from work after consuming alcohol previous day
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Liu et al. 2009
behavioural consequences of stress-Research from China found after a stressful day, employees more likely to increase amount of alcohol they drank that night. Each additional stressor increased their desire to drink more, leading greater consumption
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Creating Healthy Work Environments
Job & work design – creating, or improving jobs so that they have clear expectations, & provide autonomy.
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Grandey & Diamond (2010)
creating healthy work environments - jobs where employees interact with customers can relate to sense of accomplishment & higher job satisfaction – but can also be related to negative outcomes like anger & burnout
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Job Crafting
celebrates notion that employees are not passive recipients of jobs-but often take actions to shape their roles to fit personality,interests&capabilities.Organisations can allow&encourage this;so employees manage their stress-focusing on what good at
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Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001
Job Crafting: employees’ proactive attempts at changing the cognitive, task, and/or relational boundaries of their jobs to shape roles & relationships at work
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Houshmand et al. 2012
Research across 41 hospital units with 357 nurses shows that simply witnessing bullying can traumatize bystanders
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Open offices
office setting where employees work together with no walls or cubicles between them
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Konnikova, 2014
Open offices - Research on negative outcomes this style of work environment has on stress levels indicates they are not healthy work environments... Lead to higher stress & lower job satisfaction due to less privacy & more chaotic work environments
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Evans & Johnson, 2000
Open offices - Negative impact of even low-level noise is compelling
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Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007
recovery opportunities - Employees who are able to “unwind” when not working are healthier & have better well-being than those who do not
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Makkiangas et al. 2014
recovery opportunities - Finnish study of 256 employees found successful recovery was key factor to high energy levels
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Examples of recovery activities
Sabbaticals Vacations Personal days (not illness or vacation) Evenings. Naps! Micro-breaks
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Employee Assistance Programmes can help with
conflict, productivity, stressful life events, financial challenges, alcohol & drug dependency & other types of counselling
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SHRM, 2014
74% of all companies surveyed offered an employee assistance programme
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***Parks & Steelman, 2008***
Large-scale reviews of the research evidence have found that wellness programmes (i.e. reduced gym membership, smoking cessation, meditation) significantly decrease absence and increase job satisfaction
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APA, 2013
survey found 84% participants reported stress equal to, or greater than previous year...Only 35% thought they were managing their stress levels well
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***Derks et al., 2014***
effect of work-related smartphone use on daily recovery from work-related efforts was investigated, it was found that smartphone users facing high work-home interference were not successful in engaging in recovery activities compared to control group
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***Nielsen et al., 2010 - background***
Interventions in organisations often fail to achieve the desired outcomes,however the reasons for-unclear.Nielson et al(2010)paper-3 problems considered in future intervention research to increase understanding of the effectiveness of interventions
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***Nielsen et al., 2010 - 1st suggestion***
it is important to understand how and why interventions work
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***Nielsen et al., 2010 - 2nd suggestion***
Consideration should be given to the appropriateness of interventions
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***Nielsen et al., 2010 - 3rd suggestion***
Using a quasi-experimental study design does not ensure a valid representation of the effectiveness of an intervention.
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***Nielsen et al., 2010 - conclusion***
The authors concluded that mixed methods designs are required to integrate process&outcome evaluation& increase the generalizability of interventions.
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Stress-related illnesses caused by work are...

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preventable. Employers have a legal responsibility to reduce or remove anything at work that could make you ill and that includes workplace stress.

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***Cannon, 1929***

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***Cooper et al., 2001***

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APA (2009)

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