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THE BLACK PLAGUE OF THE 21 st CENTURY Lisa Atkinson and Kate Sobczak.

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Presentation on theme: "THE BLACK PLAGUE OF THE 21 st CENTURY Lisa Atkinson and Kate Sobczak."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE BLACK PLAGUE OF THE 21 st CENTURY Lisa Atkinson and Kate Sobczak

2 Conceptualising Stress The penguin medical dictionary defines stress as ‘any influence which disturbs the natural equilibrium of the body, included within its reference are physical injury, exposure, deprivation, all kinds of disease and emotional disturbance’ ‘stress is people’s natural reaction to excessive pressure – it isn’t a disease. But if stress is excessive and goes on for sometime, it can lead to mental and physical illness’ Health and Safety Executive (1995)

3 Case Study

4 Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) 1956 Stress as the non-specific (physiological) response of the body to any demand made upon it Stress is the response to demands of environment Two main ideas Physiological responses are not dependent on the nature of the stressor, they are universal This defence reaction progresses through 3 stages The alarm reaction Resistance Exhaustion Together these three stages represent his GAS

5 Demand Control Model (Karasek and Thoerell 1979, 1990) High Strain Jobs (when psychological demands are high & worker decision latitude is low) Active jobs (when psychological demands are high & the worker decision latitude is high) Low Strain Jobs (when psychological demands are low & worker decision latitude is high Passive Jobs (when psychological demands are low, and the worker decision latitude is low)

6 Effort-Reward Model(Siegrist 1996) Reciprocity – cost-gains process Two sources of high effort Extrinsic: demands of the job Intrinsic: the motivations of the individual Rewards Money, Esteem and Status Stress = high costs + low gains

7 Transactional Model (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984) 2 major process: Appraisal and Coping Appraisal: ‘the process of categorising an encounter, and its various facets, with respect to its significance for well-being’ Primary – perceive event as benign, positive or negative Secondary – acceptance, rejection, recognition of need to change, need to know more or holding back Coping: constantly changing cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific internal and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person

8 Psychosocial Job Stress Model (Kalimo (1997) 2 assumptions Work makes demands on the worker which he or she responds to according to his or her skills, motivations and other individual level characteristics The worker has expectations regarding work for example autonomy Stress = miss-match between environmental factors and perceived ability to cope Failure to cope = chronic physical or mental states

9 Moderators to Stress Dispositional Individual differences Type A Behaviour Hardiness Self-Esteem Social Support

10 Stress Measurement Self Report Measures Job-related Tension Index (Kahn et al, 1964) Physiological Measurement Heart rate, BP, Respiratory rate Triangulation Talking to close colleagues/family members as additional factor

11 Organisational Level Interventions Stress Presentation: Awareness Advise changes to HR systems Stress management programmes Counselling Comprehensive Training Programme Task and People Focussed Bottom up policies, open dialogue

12 Individual Level Interventions Training on new systems Arousal Reduction Training Transcendental Meditation Programme Management Relations Open Dialogue

13 Conclusions Organisations need to understand the importance of stress in maintaining employee and organisational health and well-being. These interventions and formulations can be discussed at local level but employed at a more global level.

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