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Stress & Stress Management:

Stress & Stress Management:

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  1. Stress & Stress Management: Dealing with the Demands of Life and Work Prepared for UHS 2062 lectures, UTM Skudai, Malaysia. srsiwok@ gmail.com

  2. Introduction • Stress influence our behaviour and thus our relations with others at work • Stress has serious health implications if not properly managed. • To properly manage stress, it has to be identified, understood, and learn ways to handle it.

  3. What is stress? • Stress is the psychological and physical reaction to certain life events or situations (Aamodt, 2007) • Stress is the non-specific responses of the body to any demand made on it. (Hans Selye, 1930 in Huffman, 2007). • Stress is the general term describing the psychological and physical response to a stimuli that alters the body’s equilibrium (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 in Kosslyn & Rosenberg, 2006)

  4. Stress and stressor • The stimulus that throws the body out of its equilibrium state is called a stressor. • The body’s response to a stressor is the stress response. • This response consists of the bodily changes to help us cope with the stressor. Eg: the production of endorphins and enkephalins when we get a puncture wound.

  5. Stress and stressor • The body is nearly always in a some state of stress, whether pleasant or unpleasant, mild or severe (Huffman, 2007). • A total absence of stress means a total absence of stimulation , which would eventually lead to death! • When stress is beneficial, it is called eustress. • The bad or harmful one is called distress. • Because health psychology has been chiefly concerned with negative effects of stress, the word “stress” usually refers to the harmful stress.

  6. Categorisation of stressors Duration of Stressors

  7. Eustress • Eustressis the type of stress you experience right before you have the need to exert physical force. The feelings of stress is converted into positive energy and motivates the person. • Eustressprepares the muscles, heart, and mind for the strength needed for whatever is about to occur.

  8. Eustress • Eustress can also apply to creative endeavors. When a person needs to have some extra energy or creativity, eustress kicks in to bring them the inspiration they need. • An example is the anxiety you feel before taking the exam, without the anxiety, you might not have the motivation and energy to spend the necessary time to study.

  9. Some major stressors Occupational stressors Cataclysmic events Life changes Sources of stress Conflict Hassles Frustration

  10. Cataclysmic events • Eg : the tsunami (2004), hurricane Katrina (2005)…. they occur suddenly and affect many people simultaneously. • Devastating effect to all parts of the victims’ lives. • Survivors may develop a prolonged and severe stress reaction known as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) .

  11. Work • The largest source of chronic stressor is work or occupation. • Researchers documented that stress at work can cause serious stress at home. • Occupational stressor can be grouped under two broad categories: job characteristics and organizational characteristics

  12. Job characteristics • Three job characteristics cause stress: • role conflict • role ambiguity • role overload

  13. Role conflict • Role conflict occurs when our work expectations and what we think we should be doing don’t match with the work we actually have to do. • Role conflict also occurs when an employee has competing roles or conflicting roles.

  14. Role ambiguity • Role ambiguity occurs when an individual’s job duties and performance expectations are not clearly defined

  15. Role overload • Role overload develops when individuals either feel they lack the skills or workplace resources to complete a task or perceive that the task cannot be done in the required amount of time

  16. Organizational stressors • Organizational characteristics that are likely to cause stress include factors such as person-organization fit, organization rules and policies, supervisory relationships and organizational change.

  17. Organizational stressor

  18. Person-organizational fit • Person-organizational fit refers to how well factors such as your skills, knowledge, abilities, personalities, values etc match those of the organization. • Besides the “work related” fit, there are other areas in which compatibility is critical for an employee to feel “fit” into an organization and perform well, such as the philosophy of the organization.

  19. Change • A major contributor to organizational stress is change in the work place: such as downsizing and restructuring

  20. Relations with others • Co workers and customers can be a major source of stress.

  21. Organizational politics • Meta analyses by a number of researchers found that an important source of employee stress is the perceived use of organizational politics.

  22. Stressors in the physical work environment • Noise • Temperature

  23. Life changes • Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe believed that change of any kind that required some adjustment in behaviour or lifestyle could cause stress.

  24. Hassles • Hassles are little problems of daily living, which are not significant in themselves but sometimes pile up to become a major source of stress. • Some hassles are shared by all, such as time pressure , problems with family and co-workers and financial concerns. • Reactions to hassles may vary- compared to women, men tend to have more impairment to their immune system and increased heart rate in response to hassles ( Delahanty et al, 2000, in Huffman, 2007)

  25. Conflict • Conflict occurs when we have to make a choice between at least two incompatible alternatives. • The amount of stress produced by the these forced choices depends on the complexity of the conflict and the difficulty involved in resolving it.

  26. Frustration • Frustration is a negative emotional state generally associated with a blocked goal. • The more motivated we are, the more frustration we experience when our goals are blocked.

  27. Consequences of Stress • Impairment of immune system functioning • There is evidence that stress can affect the growth of some cancerous tumors, due to: • The inability of the NK cells to work well to prevent the spread of tumors cells when the immune system is suppressed. • Stress facilitate the growth of capillaries feeding into the tumor.

  28. Consequences of Stress • Heart disease • Eliciting negative emotions such as anger, fear, sadness and helplessness. • When the stress is chronic, it can lead to despair, helplessness and depression. • Depression appears to be associated with greater likelihood of heart disease. • Likeability to engage in health-impairing /self-destructing behaviours.

  29. Organizational consequence of stress

  30. Burnout • Chronic stressors on the job, physical and mental exhaustion , a sense of little accomplishment add up to burnout . • Burnout is a state of being overwhelmed by stress. • Symptoms : lack of energy, frustration , tension, dreading to come to work and may seems to display detachment toward people.

  31. Other consequences • Absenteeism and turnover • Drug and alcohol abuse

  32. Management of Stress • Exercise • Laughter • Diet • Stop smoking • Sleep • Support network • Self empowerment • Improve coping skills

  33. Stress reduction intervention related to the life/work issues • Easing the child-care facilities: • On site child-care facilities • Voucher system • Easing the elderly –care burden • Providing rest through paid time off. • Easing the daily-chore burden: • Flexi hours • Increasing the no. of annual leaves • Providing essential services on site

  34. Predisposition to stress • There appear to be individual differences in the extent to which people are susceptible to stress (predisposed to tolerate stress) {Aamodt, 2007}. • One of the way to explain the differences is that some personalities are tend to respond to stressors negatively than others. These include individuals with Type A personalities and neurotics (Aamodt, 2007)

  35. Type A personality • These are individuals characterised mainly by achievement, striving , impatience, urgency, hostility and anger. • Type A personality tends to be multitasking, fast-paced individuals( who talk and walk fast) seem to always on the go, achievement-orientated, competitive and place work before pleasure. • The characteristics of Type A personality become exaggerated when experiencing stress (Schaubroeck, Ganster& Kemmerer, 1994 in Aamodt, 2007).

  36. Type A personality • Type A employees under stress are more likely than others to exhibit high blood pressure and high levels of stress-related hormones. • Type A individuals are slow to recover after a stressor is removed (Schaubroeck, Ganster & Kemmerer, 1994 in Aamodt, 2007)

  37. Type B personality • Type B individuals are more laid-back. • When a stress-producing event occurs, Type B personality are better at keeping things in perspective and use positive ways to deal with it. Type B personalities are more relaxed and more agreeable.

  38. Stress and neurotics • Several personality traits such as pessimism, negative affectivity, reduced hardiness and low self-esteem fall under the general trait call neuroticism. • Neurotics are anxious, often depressed , pessimistic and lack of hope, perceived events as being stressful. • Neurotics are also more likely to have negative reactions to stressful events than are people who are more emotionally stable (Conard & Matthews, 2005 in Aamodt, 2007

  39. Personality and stress • Most models of stress construe personality as having one or more roles in the stress process: • Direct effect on stress outcome: example- anxious people may be more tense in all kinds of situations, which can lead to psychological and physical health problems. • A moderating effect in the stress or strain relationship; which means that certain personality characteristics are more affected than others by an aspect of their work situation. • A direct perceptual effect. Personality may have impact on a person’s perception of what a job is like .

  40. Personality and stress • Studies have shown that people with high anxiety levels suffer more from role conflicts than do people who are more flexible in their approach to life) • Anxiety-prone individuals experience role conflict more acutely and react to it with greater tension than people who were anxiety-prone (.

  41. Personality and stress • Studies by Sparks and Cooper, 1999 and Cooper et al., 2001 (in Arnold, 2005) have shown that the locus of control, the hardy personality and Type A behaviour are moderators between the stressors and strains in the stress process; that is, personality or lifestyle factors can mitigate the effects of a stressor, as well as eliminating or minimising the stressor itself.

  42. Personality and stress • Hardy personality refers to the a combination of internal locus of control, self-confidence and motivation {especially to recover from disappointments} (Arnold, 2005).

  43. Personality and coping • Locus of control refers to the extent to which a person believes s/he has control over his/her life. In many circumstances having an internal locus of control (i.e believing one is in control ) is helpful because it encourages a person to do something about the stressful situation. • If there is really nothing that a person can do (really beyond his/her control), having a high internal locus of control may increase a person’s frustration.

  44. References : • Aamodt, M.G (2007). Industrial /organizational psychology. An applied approach. Belmont, CA: Thomson. • Huffman, K ( 2007). Psychology in Action (8thed). New Jersey: Wiley • Arnold, J. (2005). Work Psychology. Understanding Human Behaviour in the WorKplace. England: Pearson Education Ltd • Kosslynn, S. M. & Rosenberg, R. S (2006). Psychology in Action (3rd. Ed). Boston: Pearson International