No matter the job, stress will always play a role in an individual’s life. Regardless of whether one is a waitress, a teacher, a corrections officer, or a doctor, avoiding stress in the workplace is nearly impossible, perhaps even impossible. And the effects of stress in the workplace are numerous. Stress can have both psychological and physical effects on the members of the workforce. And while the specific effect may differ from one individual to the next, and in particular the effect on physical health will certainly differ from one job to another, a construction worker will most certainly experience different health issues than a secretary, for instance, physical health. Research conducted in the field of occupational health psychology has found evidence linking health and mortality in individuals to the stress encountered in the workplace; in particular research has discovered a causal effect between work experiences and physiological responses (Macik-Frey, Quick & Nelson, 2007).
Stress in the workplace can have an effect not only on the safety measures employees engage in while on the clock, but can also affect how an individual behaves outside of the workplace, in fact, it is not uncommon for an individual to experience accidents and injuries outside of the workplace that can be linked back to the stresses they experienced not only in the workplace but other stresses concerning one’s employment (Macik-Frey et al, 2007).
Estimates vary widely on the cost to organizations of poor health in employees, with some estimates reporting losses in the billions of American organizations, not only from the loss of productivity and sick-leaves, but also as a result of caring for these illnesses. Cardiovascular heart-disease (CDH) alone is estimated to cost American organizations approximately $45 billion in year in labor, the vast majority of which is attributed to mortality (Macik-Frey et al, 2007).
With CDH accounting to such a high loss in productivity in the workforce, not to factor in the costs of treating employees on a health-plan for heart disease, it would seem that there is a need for greater research in the field dealing specifically with which stressors relate to heart disease and how preventative measures can be formulated to decrease the morbidity of CDH. In a sample of 3,895 industrial employees, Toppinen-Tanner, Ojajärvi, Väänänen, Kalimo, and Jäppinen (2005) studied the relationship between burnout and medically certified sick-leave absences. Burnout was measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory–General Survey through which burnout is defined as a syndrome consisting of 3 dimensions including exhaustion, cynicism and a lack of professional efficacy that are the effect of chronic work stress. Though burnout affects numerous aspects of occupational health, both physiological and psychological, there were specific syndromes of burnout that could be linked to specific physiological illnesses: exhaustion had a strong...