Over the past few decades, many people are hearing more
about job related stress. With many households depending on duel incomes, people are working more and having less
leisure time. Many claim that job stress has contributed to such illnesses as heart disease, depression, gastric
problems, exhaustion, and many other related illnesses.
This paper will focus on the background issues surrounding
stress; as well as, the steps that need to be taken by one’s self and the employer.
According to The Random House Dictionary, stress is
defined as “physical, mental, or emotional tension.” Job stress occurs when demands are imposed upon the workers in
which they can not meet those demands, or when there are not enough adequate supplies or information available for the
employee to perform their job as required (Paine, 1982, pg. 68).
In the book The Overworked American, author Juliet
Schor (1991) reports that 30 percent of adults have reported experiencing high levels of stress on a daily basis. There is an even higher percentage of adults who have claimed to
have high levels of stress at least once or twice a week.
In 1965, only a quarter of the population reported that they are rushed to get things done resulting in high stress
levels. Today, that number has increased to one-third of
the American population claiming they are rushed on a daily basis (Schor, 1991, p.11).
Prolonged severe stress can cause emotional depression, the exhaustion stage is not depression, but a physical
process. Long-lasting excessive stress can cause a variety of physical illnesses. Among them: high blood pressure,
ulcers, colitis, arthritis, diabetes, stoke, and heart
attack. The same type and level of stress can effect
individuals differently. It depends on the person’s
physical condition (age, sex, genetic predisposition) and on certain external factors (diet, or treatment with certain
drugs or hormones) as to the physical or emotional suffering that will occur. The weakest link in a chain breaks down
under stress, even though all parts are equally exposed to
it (Bensahel, Goodloe, and Kelly, 1984, p. 130).
Illnesses that derive from stress usually develop
slowly, without the individual being clearly aware of what
is happening. Guidelines were develop
d by Robert J. Ban
Amberg, a practicing psychiatrist in Montclair, New Jersey
to help individuals measure their own reactions to stress
and to help managers know when they are under stress. These guidelines were develop
d into six stages with stress
symptoms becoming worse at each stage. Sometimes, the
stress symptoms will disappear or lessen (Bensahel et al.,
1984, p. 135).
The first stage of stress is mild and usually is
accompanied by “1. Great zest 2. Unusually acute perception 3. Excessive nervous energy and ability to accomplish more King 3
work than usual” (Bensahel et al., 1984, p. 135). During this stage, it is so pleasant that they want to maintain it. Unfortunately, it must be considered an early warning sign
that energy reserves are being drawn down (Bensahel et al., 1984, p. 135).
During the second stage of recognizing stress, some of the more unpleasant effects begin to appear. Energy
reserves usually do not last through the day. Some of the
symptoms include tiredness early in the day, heart flutters and/or disturbance of bowel and stomach functions, tightness occurring in back and head muscles, and not being to relax
(Bensahel et al., 1984 p. 136).
Tiredness becomes more apparent in the third stage.
There is more disturbance in bowel functions as well as
stomach pain. Muscles become more tight and there is an
increased feeling of tenseness. Individuals usually
experience sleep problems and have a feeling of faintness. For individuals suffering stress to this stage,...
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