Occupational Stress

Topics: White-collar worker, Stress, Occupational health psychology Pages: 8 (2719 words) Published: May 5, 2005
Job stress has proven to be a difficult issue for the workplaces and the labor movement to tackle. Unlike physical or chemical hazards, there is not an obvious tangible hazardous agent. This issue has also been preempted by corporate stress management, health promotion, or employee assistance programs, which explain stress as a purely personal reaction, and often treat the symptoms, not the causes, of job stress. The occupational stress field also has been plagued by a variety of definitions and difficulties in measurement of stress.(Buunk,De-Jong,Y-Bemas&De wolff,1998) In addition, changes in job design or work organization are often inherently more "systems challenging" and require more radical restructuring of workplaces than reducing levels of exposure to toxic substances or ergonomic hazards. According to Mclean (1979) stress affect everyone in the workplace whether blue collar or white collar workers. Hughes (1971, p342) supported Mclean by stating that" the essential problems of men at work are the same whether they do their work in some famous laboratory or in the messiest vat room of a pickle factory" So this essay will review the major explanations that have been given for the higher rates of stress amongst working women's based of the interview conducted on south African female worker. Part one of this paper will discuss how the factors such as Gender's, race, marital status can cause stress among workers. In the second part work related factors such as heavy workload demand, control over work ,rewards and poor social relationship will be discussed. Lastly changes facing South African workplaces shall be discussed.

The issue of stress is complicated because there is no single definitions that allows one to defines it .According to Buunk at al (1998) psychologist and other disciplines defines stress in relation to their area of focus. Holt (1982,p.421) as stated in bunk et al (1998) defines stress as the "dark side of work". The stimulus approach to stress defines stress as the result of stressor or event in the environment external to the person (Buunk et al 1998).Stimulus approach stress perceive stress in terms of the degree of demand placed on individual by an environmental stimulus (Buunk et al1998).The response approach view stress as outcomes or as depending on other variables such as work. As stated by Buunk et al (1998) the response approach will be interested in measuring individual blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. The transactional approach view stress as the result of transaction between an individual goals and the environment. The transaction approach to stress ensemble with the person and environment fit model which shall be discussed later in connection with work related factors that contribute to my interview stress .Lazarus & Folkman (1980s) viewed stress in a systems manner, in which none of the variables alone is capable of explaining the emotional response. Stress is a handy term to describe the operation of many processes that occur when demands tax (or exceed) the person's resources.

The interview was conducted on South African white collar workers, who is a black lady working for the University of the Johannesburg. The lady was between the age of 40 -45. She is married with four children's. The interviewee fell into the categories of white collar workers. As stated by Cooper & Smith (1985) white collar workers are vulnerable to stressors and their manifestation. The issue of white collar work and stress shall be discussed in relation to work related stressors. The below paragraph will discuss my interviewee characteristics that seem to be associated with increased vulnerability to stressors.

The first characteristics impacting on her job stress is gender. However no one theory accounts for the extent and prevalence of high rates of stress amongst women's. Woman biology, environment and psychology all seem to play a role in increasing her risks of stress .Researchers...
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