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Handbook of Stress in the Occupations

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox and Cary Cooper

The Handbook of Stress in the Occupations sets a new agenda for stress research and gives fresh impetus to scholars who wish to focus on issues and problems associated with specific jobs, some of which have received little attention in the past.
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Chapter 15: Stress and the Occupation of Fishing

Richard B. Pollnac, Iris Monnereau, John J. Poggie, Azure D. Westwood and Victor Ruiz


Richard B. Pollnac, Iris Monnereau, John J. Poggie, Victor Ruiz and Azure D. Westwood INTRODUCTION Fishing is a dangerous and risky occupation – a combination of factors that one would expect to result in unbearable stress. Nevertheless, millions of fishers worldwide not only succeed at this demanding occupation, but also effectively resist the many forces and temptations that could make them give up their jobs. What is it about this apparently stress-inducing occupation that attracts and keeps its workers? Why don’t the obvious stressors involved induce them to quit and move to safer endeavors when available? The purpose of this chapter is to identify the stressors and their sources; their impacts and the methods fishers use to cope with their potency and impacts. In a recent paper, Pollnac & Poggie (2008) present a model directed at understanding fishers’ psychological adaptation to risk and its role in job satisfaction. Here this model is expanded to examine factors influencing stress in the occupation of fishing. Additionally, a data set from Southeast Alaska, New England and four Caribbean countries (Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Belize and Jamaica) is analyzed to test some of the hypotheses suggested by the model in a cross-cultural context, including both small- and large-scale fisheries. Numerous characteristics of the physical, technological and social environments of the occupation of fishing result in conditions that engender stress among its practitioners. Of necessity fishers have learned to cope with both the stress-inducing factors and the resultant stress where stressors cannot be reduced or eliminated. We conceptualize...

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