Bagya. D M.A.,M.ED.,D.T.E.
PONDICHERRY CENTRAL UNIVERSITY. INDIA.
Stress is derived from the Latin word "Stringere" which means to draw tight. Stress is a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, demand or resource related to what the individual desires and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important (Cooper et. al. 2002). Stress has been a focus of study in medical science where it has been defined as a perturbation of the body's homeostasis. This demand on mind-body occurs when it tries to cope with incessant changes in life. In the organizational context, stress has been found to be experienced by employees during job insecurity, performance expectations, technology changes, and personal and family problems. A more generalized description is provided by Caplan et. al. (1975) who suggests that stress is any characteristic of the job environment. There have been many studies on the relationship between job stress and job satisfaction and these studies generally indicate that job stress and satisfaction are inversely related (Sullivan & Bhagat 1992). Stress is believed to cause depression, irritation, anxiety, fatigue and thus lower self esteem and reduce job satisfaction. (Manivannan et. al. 2007). Job satisfaction or job dissatisfaction is often included in stress research as a consequence of stress and a negative relationship between stress and job satisfaction is frequently reported. There are several theoretical positions devised for examining and understanding stress and stress-related disorders. Brantley and Thomason (1995) categorized them into three groups: response theories, stimulus theories, and interaction (or transaction) theories. Given the distinction made earlier between stress as a stimulus and as a response, this system serves as a useful way to present the various theories and associated research. Response Theories and Research
Because chronic stress responses involve actual physiological changes to body systems and organs, a good bit of attention has been paid to acute physiological stress responses and how they might possibly lead to subsequent chronic stress responses (McEwen and Stellar, 1993). Historically, both Walter Cannon (1929) and Hans Selye (1956) provided the foundation for the current interest in this physiological process. The Work of Walter Cannon
Cannon was a physiologist at Harvard University who was the first to use the term ‘homeostasis.’ According to Cannon (1929), the body possesses an internal mechanism to maintain stable bodily functioning or equilibrium. As the environment presents the organism with various challenges, the body must respond to each new situation by adjusting various physiological systems to compensate for the resources being taxed. A classic example of this type of compensation involves fluid regulation. When an organism ingests a large amount of water, the kidney releases more waste fluid into the bladder for eventual disposal in an effort to maintain bodily equilibrium. Many of the feedback mechanisms that regulate blood pressure presented in Chapter 1 share similar characteristics with bodily systems that maintain homeostasis. According to Cannon (1935), failure of the body to respond to environmental challenges by maintaining bodily homeostasis results in damage to target organs and eventually death. Translating his work with physical challenges associated with eating, drinking, and physical activity into those of a psychological nature, Cannon hypothesized that common homeostatic mechanisms were involved. Accordingly, if an organism’s response to threat involves significant sympathetic nervous system arousal so that respiration and heart rate increase significantly, the body’s compensatory response should involve either reducing sympathetic nervous system activity or increasing parasympathetic nervous system counter-activity. If the compensatory response is...