The USA perspective: current issues and trends in the management of work stress.
Aust Psychol 2003 Jun; 38(2):1-7
The article provides a United States (US) perspective on emergent issues in work stress and current efforts to reduce stress at work. Workers continue to report relatively high levels of stress and national estimates indicate that in excess of one third of US workers report that their jobs are "often" or "always" stressful. Job stress associated with emergent human resource practices (e.g., flexible employment contracts) and new work systems (e.g., lean production) has not been fully examined, but concerns have been raised about increased risks associated with these practices.Interventions to reduce workers’ stress in US organisations have focused primarily on individual-oriented techniques, such as muscle relaxation and meditation. While these efforts have demonstrated utility for lowering psychological and physiological signs of stress, interventions that involve job/organisation change are generally preferred because they directly address the sources of stress at work. However, research has not consistently found that such stressor reduction interventions actually lower worker levels of stress, for reasons that are not clear at present. Another class of interventions that have become common in US workplaces addresses work-life balance but their success with respect to lowering worker stress also is mixed. Suggestions for increasing the frequency of stressor reduction interventions in US organisations are offered, including the collection of accurate, up-to-date data on work organisation risk factors, authoritative guidelines on the design, implementation and evaluation of interventions, and better integration of stressor reduction interventions with existing organisational programs.
Psychological-stress; Job-stress; Work-practices; Stress; Physiological-stress; Physiological-response
Lawrence R. Murphy, Organizational Sciences and Human Factors Branch, Division of Applied Research and Technology, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA
Work Environment and Workforce: Organization of Work