Work Stress

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We live with it, deal with it, and above all worry about it. Our way of life, the area in which we live, the economy, and our jobs can cause a great deal of stress. Not everyone deals with the same level of stress and there are several factors that can impact our lives and cause us to have higher or lower stress levels. We can have stressed caused by Cataclysmic events which according to Feldman (2009) are events that can affect many people at the same time and are “disasters such as tornado and plane crashes, as well as terrorist attacks”. (p418). Other factors are personal stressors and can be caused by events such as a divorce, death or a loved one or the loss of a job. (Feldman, 2009). The other category is what Feldman (2009) refers to as background stressors and are the things that impact our daily life. South Florida has many factors that contribute to our stress level, high unemployment rate 12.1% , high number of families living in poverty approximately 16%, (U.S. Census Bureau, American Fact Finder at (http://factfinder.census.gov), a housing crisis that has contributed to many residents losing their homes, overcrowded roads, high crime rate, and during hurricane season the weather. When we compare ourselves with people living in smaller cities, villages, other areas of the country or even other countries, or those whose socio economic status allows them to maintain their life style during difficult economic times we could probably see a difference in the stress level. Who has not stressed over driving in the Palmetto or I-95. Who has not stressed over the evening news or the possibility of not having a job in very difficult economic times? Who has not stressed over the possibility of being affected by the housing crisis? Who does not stress over a situation at work over which we have no control? These are stressors we live with and deal with on a daily basis. Work Stress and Mental Health

Some people have higher levels of stress because they might have a very stressful job. Police officers, fire fighters, soldiers in a war zone, health care providers, long distance truck drivers, and yes, even educators (think of a classroom full of students where you are responsible for making sure that they are learning the skills they need to succeed) have very stressful jobs. According to Elkin and Rosch (1990) workplace related stress in a major problem in the U.S. and it creates a major expense for corporations. Koeske, Kirk, and Koeske (1993) indicate that all jobs have some level of stress but jobs that are in the human services have additional stressors because they “derive from intense involvement in the lives of others”. (p.319). They also refer to the type of stress experienced by individuals working in human services as “burnout” (Koeske, Kirk, and Koeske, 1993, p.319). Another factor that can influence our stress level is how we handle life’s demands. There are different ways of reacting to the situations we face every day of our lives. We have all heard of expressions such as ‘road rage’ and ‘going postal’. These are terms that we have come to identified with violent reactions to stressors caused by situations all of us face every day. How many of us have experiences in the road that would cause us to display behavior that is outside of what we consider to be within a normal range? How many of us have had experiences at work with a supervisor or a coworker where we have had to use all of our self control not to respond in an appropriate manner? We all have had these experiences and how we handle them depends on different factors such as our own characteristics, or external factors that could be impacting us at any particular moment. Symptoms of stress and anxiety caused by work

According to Tetrick and LaRocco (1987) “ work conditions can lead to perception of stress. Perceived stress, in turn, leads to job-related strains such as dissatisfaction, boredom, and turnover, and to individual strains such as...
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