There has been scarce research on the association among perceived responsibilities, the nature of work and job stress. This study attempted to examine if there was any relationship between these factors. Results showed that 18 percent of the tested individuals rated their work as “highly stressful.” It was found that those who had reasonable job satisfaction did not feel that their jobs were stressful. Stress perception tends to rise when workers feel they have to work longer hours or when the responsibilities at work become greater.
“Workers are increasingly exposed to stressful work environments as a result of changing work expectations including tighter deadlines, constant and almost instantaneous communication and increased production targets set with seemingly little consideration for individual workload.” Figures show that nearly 31 percent of the Canadian workforce suffers from job-related stress and this raises the risk of mental and physical disorders amongst them. There has been very little research that looks into the relationship between perceived responsibilities at work, type of work and job stress. Researchers believe that this knowledge is important in developing effective ways that target both the person and the environment to reduce job-related stress.
Authors admit that self perception and reporting of stress at work may not have been accurate. Also the study was taken as a snap shot, and long-term assessment of stress was not planned in the study design. Hence, the cause of the stress could not be analyzed. Another major shortcoming was that there were more women than men in the study. This could have skewed the results. Finally, the interviews were conducted only among people who owned a telephone hence including only a particular class of people. Further studies should explore the association between job stress and productivity and health status.
In this study the researchers note “that there are a number of factors that are associated with experiencing high work stress. Among them are being a manager/professional and being more engaged with work.” In other words, the higher the responsibility or connectedness to others, the higher the stress levels were perceived. People who believed their jobs in the workplace to affect others, those who had stress factors from their personal lives (such as a “disrupted marriage”), and also those who were required to work additional hours, felt their level of stress at work was very high. “This is an important finding for employers, offering insight into where interventions may be targeted.”
For More Information:
Relationships between Job Stress and Worker Perceived Responsibilities and Job Characteristics
Publication Journal: The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, January 2011
By C. S. Dewa PhD; A. H. Thompson; Work and Well-being Research and Evaluation Program, Center for Addiction and Mental Health; the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and the Institute for Health Economics, Alberta, Canada