Research Paper on Social-Psychological Approach to Work Stress

Nowadays work plays a significant role in human lives and influences people’s well-being. However, employment became a considerable challenge for a great number of people. It resulted in tremendous source of stress. The problem of work stress is often related with psychological ill health. Numerous interventions must be implemented to prevent or at least to reduce psychological problems.

As far as work requires considerable demands on time and energy, people are increasingly influenced by both positive and negative aspects of their work. The relationship between occupation and mental and physical health constitutes career requirements. Thus, the productivity and economic vital capacity of organizations is performed.

I can define stress as an interaction between people and any kind of demand within their environment. Consequently, stressor may be the event or the object which is destructive for an individual. It often happens when the demands surpass a human capacity to cope. In this research we are to trace the social psychological and physical demands of the work environment that cause stress. I consider the main factors contributing to stress are long work hours, conflicts at work, job insecurity, interpersonal conflict with colleagues or supervisors, shift work, role conflict, psychical hazard exposures, etc. As a result, it causes reduced productivity, low morale, increased turnover, absenteeism, sickness and other negative results.

Work stressors may also lead to personal negative aspects such as anxiety, general mental distress symptoms, depression, heart disease, ulcers, and chronic diseases. In many cases individuals are distressed by trying to combine occupational and family demands, such as caring for their children or sick and aging parents (Wiersma & Berg).

In order to understand the nature of the relationship between work conditions and mental distress we are to consider individual factors such as age, sex, race, income, education, marital status, personality, etc. Workers’ mental and physical well-being is caused by such harmful effects as the physical environment and the psychosocial conditions of employment. One of the main negative sources of work stress which lead to critical health risks for some employees are lack of control over work, the work place itself, the employment status, etc. Those workers who are not able to control their lives at their working place are more likely to suffer occupational stress and thus, can experience impaired health. Numerous studies have shown that low control, heavy job demands may cause mental strain, job dissatisfaction, cardiovascular disease, etc. I can define job control as the ability to make environment positive and less threatening for workers. Those people who obtain job control may influence the planning and execution of work tasks.

The basic objective of the modern society is to reduce work-related stress by fulfilling certain requirements. One of the most important tasks is to change working conditions so as to be less stressful and to make them more efficient for achieving a certain goal. This approach is important for those employees who work under severe conditions. The examples of this strategy may include changing physical stressed such as noise levels, or altering organizational decision-making procedures to include workers.

Workers may suffer less stress diseases if to teach to adapt them to cope with those conditions that are impossible or difficult to change. The main disadvantage of this approach is that it is expensive to deal with each personal transaction with the environment. The solution in this case could be individual counseling services for workers, specialized stress management programs including cognitive behavioral interventions, workers assistance strategies, etc.

It is very important to establish the stressful relationship between the worker or group and the work environment. It requires making changes in worker appointment in order to produce a better individual environment. This approach provides teaching coping strategies for those people who experience the same coping deficits. The example of this strategy could be training in relaxation skills.

I consider that workers differ considerably in the personal capacity to experience stressful situations. Thus, there should be self-selection in the kind of work and stressors that people choose. As far as reasons of stress differ from person to person ensuring a solution for one worker can lead to stress for another employee. The way out of this problem can include interfering with groups of employees that are organized according to person-environment relationships, if they contribute to the generation and result in the reduction of stress.

I believe that workers must be provided with normal conditions and work under normal circumstances in order to find adequate responses in their reactions to new environment and situations. Stress is not always negative. It would be a mistake to focus only on its harmful results. We should also concentrate on a moderate level of stress which is a significant motivational factor. It can be effective in achieving a dynamic adaptation for new environment and situations. Consequently, the stress is considered to be a part of health as a dynamic equilibrium. No health can exist without cooperation with other people and their environment. I believe that only excesses of stress can be harmful and pathological for people.

Thus, some quantity of stress is necessary and important in certain cases. However, if stress is immense or long, and an individual can’t cope with it, or if he lacks support, stress can arise as a negative result which will cause physical diseases and psychological disorders. Hence, it can lead to inadequate adaptation to environment and people and incapacity to perform at a desired and necessary level.

It is necessary to identify who is mostly affected by stress. On the one hand, all people are affected at one time by stress at work. However, occupational stress became a new phenomenon and is increasing. It became globalized and people suffer it in many countries. Various professions and categories of workers including families and society in general experience stress to a greater or lesser extent. Occupational stress occurs mainly in industrialized countries, while people in developing world also suffer work-related stress results.

We must admit that family responsibilities also became a source of stress. It often happens to single-parent families and those ones in which both parents work. A great number of factors make it difficult to achieve harmony between work and family. The main reasons are lack over the content and management of work, time-pressured work, sudden and unexpected changes in working schedules, and unsympathetic treatment by management and colleagues. Work changes and irregular working hours lead to challenges in family routines and events. As a result, many people find it difficult to suit their work requirements to their family life. All these factors can result in conflicts concerning family roles.

I believe that the major objective of the government and different social organizations is to take into account the basic needs of workers with family responsibilities to facilitate their lives, and reduce the levels of stress. The main strategies include:

  • the reduction of working hours and overtime;
  • the provision of rest periods and holidays;
  • child-care facilities provision;
  • the possibility to take a leave of absence to take care for a sick child or family member;
  • normal regulation and supervision of part-time workers’ terms and conditions.

I consider there is a complex problem in the relationships between gender, work and stress. One of the main challenges in the impact of stress on women is a stereotype that they still play a crucial role in the provision of family care. There are numerous reasons which make women more susceptible to work-related stress:

  • The higher amount of women who work in insecure forms of employment;
  • Insufficient level of control in their positions because a great number of women still occupy less senior jobs than men. Nowadays many women suffer prejudice and discrimination in more senior jobs such as managerial positions. They are the result of organizational and corporative policy and from their co-workers at work.

Stress has an immense cost for people, organizations and companies since it became so widespread. People suffer stress due to its devastating impact of the important health impairments, the lack of capacity to cope with social situations. All these factors lead to decreasing of success at work, loss of career perspectives and employment. Stress is one of the negatives results which can increase greater strain in family relationships and even with friends. In some cases stress may be even the cause for depression, death or suicide. However, for the organization or company the results of stress usually take many negative forms and result in higher costs. Such costs are connected with absenteeism, higher medical costs and personnel turnover, recruiting and teaching new employees. Thus, the main disadvantage of stress lies in reduced efficiency and productivity.

In this research our main objective is to enlighten social psychological influences of stress. Thus, we can conclude that the recovery from stress, trauma, etc. is facilitated by emotional disclosure within a socially sustaining environment. At the same time it is very complicated by the relationship of several social psychological factors which we described above. These obstacles may block disclosure and be favorable to the persistence of various traumatic stress effects. The influence of traumatic diseases on social identity process can become the reason of recovery process complication. Such problems usually arise due to complex relationships with co-workers. In many cases people feel unable to process their personal losses.

I consider the main objective of the society is to make all these complicated issues solvable by implementing necessary supportive programs and regulations. Today we witness that recovery is often complicated by distinctions in the salience of human needs. One of these solutions could be the emotional support provided by various national programs. Recovery can be more efficient if facilitated by ensuring comprehension in the early stages. I believe the main role in this aspect lies in the organizational environment. Efficient recovery management depends on the co-workers and management policy within the organization.


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