The occurrence of job stress is an established fact.
The American Psychological Association (APA) survey on work-related stress reveals that:
- fifty-four percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives, with thirty percent considering their stress levels as “extreme”
- sixty-two percent of Americans hold work as having a significant impact on stress levels.
- fifty-two percent of workers consider work more stressful than home
- sixty-six percent of American adults suffer from stress induced chronic health condition
- almost fifty percent of Americans consider their stress levels as having increased between 2007 and 2008.
Other surveys confirm these findings
- A survey by Northwestern National Life reveals twenty-five percent of employees view their jobs as the number one cause of stress in their lives, and forty percent of the workers considering their work as very stressful.
- A survey by Princeton Survey Research Associates find seventy-five percent of employees believing that on-the-job stress has increased compared to the previous generation.
- A study by Families and Work Institute estimate twenty-six percent of workers facing high levels of burn out due to stress
- Research at Yale University reveal twenty-nine percent of workers encountering extreme stress at work
- A 2009 Psychosocial Working Conditions (PWC) survey indicate nearly seventeen percent of all working individuals considering their job as very or extremely stressful.
The American Institute of Stress (AIS) lists job stress as the major source of stress for American adults, and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.
Job stress is however a universal phenomenon. For instance,
- the THOR surveillance schemes of OPRA and SOSMI in Britain estimate 5,126 new cases of mental stress every year.
- the 2002 Aventis Healthcare Survey in Canada finds fifty-one percent of employees experiencing much stress at work, with twenty-five percent of them falling physically ill due to workplace stress
- In Japan, a fatal combination of apoplexy, high blood pressure, and stress is recognized as “Karoshi” or death from overwork
A 1992 UN report termed Job Stress as “The 20th century epidemic” and the World Health Organization corroborated this statement by calling job stress as a “world-wide epidemic.”
Causes of Job Stress
Job Stress statistics derived from the American Psychological Association (APA) Survey reveals:
- seventy-three percent of Americans consider money as the number one factor that affects their stress levels
- forty-five percent of workers consider job insecurity as having a significant impact on stress levels
- sixty-one percent of workers list heavy workloads as a significant impact on work stress levels.
- executives and managers encounter high stress whereas self-employed workers are least stressed
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) considers the following factor as the major causes of job stress:
- high demands or expectations from work, with conflicting or uncertain targets and too much responsibility
- heavy workload with infrequent rest breaks, long work hours, shift work, hectic and routine tasks, lack of control, and inability to maintain work-life balance
- autocratic management style
- poor social environment with lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors
- job insecurity and lack growth or career advancement opportunities
- dangerous and unpleasant physical working conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or poor ergonomics
Impact of Job Stress
Stress in the workplace is a public health issue. The APA statistics on job related stress estimates 43 percent of US adults suffering from adverse health effects from stress and the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates “neurotic reaction to stress” as the fourth disabling workplace injury.
Research suggests that the impact of job stress extends to workplace injury, depression, dietary disorders, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, psychological disorders, impaired immunity functions, ulcers, and even suicide.
A 2000 Integra Survey reveals:
- sixty-five percent of workers suffering from difficulties due to workplace stress, with ten percent suffering from major effects due to such difficulties
- sixty-two percent of workers suffer from routine work-related neck pain, 44 percent of workers suffer from stressed-out eyes, thirty-eight percent of workers had pain in their hands, and thirty-four percent of workers having difficulty sleeping because of work-related stress.
- nearly twenty-five percent of workers crying at least once over workplace stress
- nineteen percent of workers quitting a job, unable to manage work related stress. An average of forty percent of employee turnover is due to job stress.
- twenty-nine percent of workers having yelled at co-workers because of job stress, and two percent of workers having actually struck someone at work
The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports stress related disorders as the most prevalent reason for worker disability, with an estimated twenty-five percent of the workforce taking a day off from work due to stress. The Bureau of Labor statistics estimate the median absence from such stress induced absence at 23 days, four times the level of all nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses. The average direct cost of absenteeism is $3,550 per employee per year
The U.K. Labor Force Survey estimates 415,000 individuals in Britain experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) holds that while exposure to stressful working conditions can have a direct influence on worker safety and health working conditions, individual and other situational factors such as a healthy work-life balance, a support net of friends and family, and a relaxed and positive outlook can reduce stress.
- American Physiological Association
- National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Stress at Work. Publication No 99-101
- US Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Stress.
- Health and Safety Executive. Stress related and Psychological Disorders
First Image Credit: flickr.com/BLW Photography
Second Image Credit: flickr.com/Dave-F