Over the past few decades, many people are hearing more
about job related stress. With many households depending on
duel incomes, people are working more and having less
leisure time. Many claim that job stress has contributed to
such illnesses as heart disease, depression, gastric
problems, exhaustion, and many other related illnesses.
This paper will focus on the background issues surrounding
stress; as well as, the steps that need to be taken by one’s
self and the employer.
According to The Random House Dictionary, stress is
defined as “physical, mental, or emotional tension.'; Job
stress occurs when demands are imposed upon the workers in
which they can not meet those demands, or when there are not
enough adequate supplies or information available for the
employee to perform their job as required (Paine, 1982, pg.
In the book The Overworked American, author Juliet
Schor (1991) reports that 30 percent of adults have reported
experiencing high levels of stress on a daily basis. There
is an even higher percentage of adults who have claimed to
have high levels of stress at least once or twice a week.
In 1965, only a quarter of the population reported that they
are rushed to get things done resulting in high stress
levels. Today, that number has increased to one-third of
the American population claiming they are rushed on a daily
basis (Schor, 1991, p.11).
Prolonged severe stress can cause emotional depression,
the exhaustion stage is not depression, but a physical
process. Long-lasting excessive stress can cause a variety
of physical illnesses. Among them: high blood pressure,
ulcers, colitis, arthritis, diabetes, stoke, and heart
attack. The same type and level of stress can effect
individuals differently. It depends on the person’s
physical condition (age, sex, genetic predisposition) and on
certain external factors (diet, or treatment with certain
drugs or hormones) as to the physical or emotional suffering
that will occur. The weakest link in a chain breaks down
under stress, even though all parts are equally exposed to
it (Bensahel, Goodloe, and Kelly, 1984, p. 130).
Illnesses that derive from stress usually develop
slowly, without the individual being clearly aware of what
is happening. Guidelines were developed by Robert J. Ban
Amberg, a practicing psychiatrist in Montclair, New Jersey
to help individuals measure their own reactions to stress
and to help managers know when they are under stress. These
guidelines were developed into six stages with stress
symptoms becoming worse at each stage. Sometimes, the
stress symptoms will disappear or lessen (Bensahel et al.,
1984, p. 135).
The first stage of stress is mild and usually is
accompanied by “1. Great zest 2. Unusually acute perception
3. Excessive nervous energy and ability to accomplish more
work than usual'; (Bensahel et al., 1984, p. 135). During
this stage, it is so pleasant that they want to maintain it. ...