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3) Workplace as a cause of Stress

The workplace can be a massive cause of stress, there are several key reasons for this.

One is that the workload can cause stress; people feel pressured by the amount of work and that they don’t have the control to do it all. Also the workload can be monotonous, repetitive, and intensive, causing stress.

 The amount of control within the workplace a worker feels they have can contribute to stress levels; if a worker feels he or she has little control then they are at risk of stress.

Role conflict is when the family life and workplace are not separated sufficiently. For example if a worker also takes his work him or visa versa, stress can be the result.

Research into the workplace as a stressor

Marmot et al

AIM – To investigate any link between the workplace and stress levels

PROCEDURE – 7000+ civil servants were asked to complete a questionnaire on workload, job control and support from others. They also checked for cardiovascular disorder. 5 years later the participants were reassessed.

FINDINGS – Marmot found no link between workload and stress levels. However, the civil servants with the higher levels of control and better social support had lower rates of CVD than those with less control and less social support.

CONCLUSION – This research suggests that workload has little or no affect on stress, however the higher the level of control  and social support, the lower the levels of stress.

Pomaki et al –  Investigated the effect of role conflict in 226 doctors. Found that role conflict had association with emotional exhaustion, depressive symptoms and health issues.


Individual differences – Lazarus said that it depends on people’s perception of control, workload and role conflict. What one person might perceive as stressful could be normal and fine for another.

The evolution of work and work stressors – With such rapid technological changes to work, for example the increase of working from home and “virtual offices”, the research we have on workplace stressors rapidly becomes out of date as “work” is no longer like that.


About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


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