Articles on Stress by
Judi Light Hopson

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Studies on Stress

Health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress!
(Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine)

In 1960, a Michigan court upheld a compensation claim by an automotive assembly line worker who had difficulty keeping up with the pressures of the production line. To avoid falling behind, he tried to work on several assemblies at the same time and often got parts mixed up. As a result, he was subjected to repeated criticism from the foreman. Eventually he suffered a psychological breakdown.

By 1995, nearly one-half of the States allowed worker compensation claims for emotional disorders and disability due to stress on the job. (1995 Workers compensation yearbook)

There is a wealth of evidence gathered by stress education studies conducted by companies and organizations supplying information to NIOSH that stress management in the workplace can help to:
* Reduce mistakes made on the job
* Reduce lawsuits filed against certain companies (hospitals, for example)
* Boost employee morale

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is the Federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related illness and injury.
NIOSH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; it is distinct from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is a regulatory agency located in the U.S. Department of Labor.

As part of its mandate, NIOSH is directed by Congress to study the psychological aspects of occupational safety and health, including stress at work. NIOSH works in collaboration with industry, labor, and universities to better understand the stress of modern work, the effects of stress on worker safety and health, and ways to reduce stress in the workplace.

To receive other information about occupational safety and health problems, call: 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) or visit the NIOSH Homepage on the at www.cdc.gov/niosh

St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company conducted several studies on the effects of stress prevention programs in hospital settings. Program activities included:

(1) employee and management education on job stress
(2) changes in hospital policies and procedures to reduce organizational sources of stress, and
(3) establishment of Employee Assistance Programs.

* In one study, the frequency of medication errors declined by 50%
after prevention activities were implemented in a 700 bed hospital.
* In a second study, there was a 70% reduction in malpractice claims in 22 hospitals that
implemented stress prevention activities.
* In contrast, there was no reduction in claims in a matched group of 22 hospitals that
did not implement stress prevention activities. (Journal of Applied Psychology)

What Workers Say About Stress on the Job
40% of workers report their job is "very or extremely stressful."
(Survey by Northwestern Mutual Life)
26% of workers report they are "often or very often burned out or stressed by their work."
(Survey by the Families and Work Institute)
29% of workers report they feel "quite a bit or extremely stressed at work."
(Survey by Yale University)
25% of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.
(Northwestern National Life)
75% of employees believe the worker has more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.
(Princeton Survey Research Associates)
Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints,more so than even financial problems or family problems.
(St.Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company)

A 2000 Integra Survey similarly reported that:

65% of workers said that workplace stress had caused difficulties and more than 10 percent described these as having major effects;
10% said they work in an atmosphere where physical violence has occurred because of job stress and in this group, 42% report that yelling and other verbal abuse is common;
29% had yelled at co-workers because of workplace stress, 14% said they work where machinery or equipment has been damaged because of workplace rage and
2% admitted that they had actually personally struck someone;
19% or almost one in five respondents had quit a previous position because of job stress and nearly one in four have been driven to tears because of workplace stress;
62% routinely find that they end the day with work-related neck pain, 44% reported stressed-out eyes, 38% complained of hurting hands and 34% reported difficulty in sleeping because they were too stressed-out;
12% had called in sick because of job stress;
Over half said they often spend 12-hour days on work related duties and an equal number frequently skip lunch because of the stress of job demands.

More info at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/stresswk.html


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