Environmental and occupational medicine. Rom WN, Renzetti AD Jr., Lee JS, Archer VE, eds. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1983 Jan; :425-430
The relationship between psychological job stress and impaired psychological and physiological functioning is reviewed. The general adaptative syndrome can be traced to research with rats that developed a predictable response syndrome. This syndrome consists of enlargement of the adrenal glands, involution of the thymus and related lymphatic structure, and ulceration of the stomach lining. The subjective symptoms of this reaction are a feeling of malaise or lethargy. The stages of stress response are described. These stages include the alarm stage, resistance stage, and exhaustion stage. Stress is defined as a stimulus, event, or condition that disrupts the homeostatic functioning of the individual's psychological and physiological systems, thus initiating adaptative or restorative activities. Stress related disorders are analyzed from three areas: psychological processes, coping strategies, and work stressors. Psychological processes involve the personality characteristics of the individual that influence his or her perception and interpretation of life events and feelings of being able to cope with them. Coping strategies pertain to the range and effectiveness of ways an individual possesses to combat experienced stress. Positive coping mechanisms are described. In the work environment, the relationships between stress and organizational structure and climate, role demands and expectations, and job and task requirements are examined. Research shows that non participation at work and uncertainty about the future are significantly related to low self esteem and job satisfaction, poor physical health, escapist drinking, depressed mood, and absenteeism. Role ambiguity is linked to indicators of poor mental health, including depressed mood, dissatisfaction with life, and decreased motivation to work. Quantitative and qualitative workloads are discussed in relation to adverse psychological and physical consequences.