Stress in the workplace
There are many sources of stress in the work environment. "A great deal of worker stress is caused by stressors in the environment of the work organization" (Riggio, 2000, p.250). These stressors include job insecurity, excessive competition, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, unpleasant or uncomfortable working conditions, work overload, underutilization, job ambiguity, lack of control and support, long or unusual working hours, as well as income level. Physical sources including lack of sleep, health status, poor diet, as well as drug and alcohol use can contribute to the amount and degree of stress a person experiences on the job.
"While a great deal of stress is created by factors in the organization or by features of jobs and work tasks, some is caused by characteristics of the workers themselves" (Riggio, 2000, p.254). There are two types of behavior patterns that are associated with individual sources of work stress. They have been defined as Type A behavior pattern and susceptibility to stress and to stress effects. Type A behavior pattern is characterized by excessive drive and competitiveness, a sense of urgency and impatience, and underlying hostility (Riggio, 2000).
This type of person is otherwise known as a "workaholic." People who possess Type A behavior pattern are more susceptible to develop stress-related coronary heart disease, including fatal heart attacks, which can be caused by competitiveness, hostility, and impatience, as well as the expression of negative emotions. "Overall, the one characteristic that many researchers agree is associated with the negative aspects of stress in Type As is that of negative affectivity (whether it be anxiety, anger, pessimism, or whatever). In other words, perhaps it is not the amount of work undertaken, or aspects of the work situation itself that affect Type As, but rather they way they think and feel about the work they do" (Riggio, 2000, pp.255-256).
The second individual source of work stress is known as susceptibility to stress and to stress effects. Meaning, some people are more susceptible to stress than others. The concept of hardiness can be applied in this source of work stress. "....hardy personality types are resistant to the harmful effects of stress because of their style of dealing with stressful events. Rather than viewing a stressful situation as a threat, they view it as a challenge. Moreover, they also believe that they can control and influence the course of their lives (recall that a sense of lack of control can contribute to stress) and are committed to their jobs" (Riggio, 2000, pp.256-257).
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