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Research Companion to Organizational Health Psychology

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

This timely Research Companion is essential reading to advance the understanding of healthy behaviours within working environments and to identify problems which can be the cause of illness. Containing both theoretical and empirical contributions written by distinguished academics working in Europe, North America and Australia, the book covers leading edge topics ranging from current theories of stress, stress management, and stress in specific occupational groups, such as doctors and teachers, to the relationship of stress with well-being. It provides systematic approaches towards practical actions and stress interventions in working environments and a solid theoretical framework for future research. It will be an essential companion to research on psychology and medicine as well as stress.
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Chapter 11: Stress and Individual Differences: Implications for Stress Management

Susan Cartwright and Lynne C. Whatmore


11 Stress and individual differences: implications for stress management Susan Cartwright and Lynne C. Whatmore Introduction Stress has been identified as a major factor in ill-health, particularly psychological health. Workplace surveys (Cartwright and Cooper, 1997; Worral and Cooper, 2001) consistently report that employees consider that stress at work is a significant factor which affects their health and well-being. As a consequence many organizations are implementing stress management interventions in order to reduce stress levels, help employees cope more effectively with experienced stress and to reduce sickness absence costs. At the same time such activities are perceived to be effective in demonstrating a sense of organizational care and concern and a desire to improve employee morale (Sigman, 1992). The potential sources of stress in the workplace are many and various and differ between occupational groups and job status (Gibson et al., 1988; Cooper and Cartwright, 1994). However organizational change and reorganization have been increasingly cited as significant, and potentially universal, factors responsible for high stress levels amongst employees (Callan, 1993; Saksvik, 1996). Tackling the environmental sources of stress, described as ‘primary level interventions’ (Murphy, 1988), is widely argued as the most effective, yet less common, strategy for reducing workplace stress. The transactional model of stress (Cox and MacKay, 1976) emphasizes the subjective nature of stress as ‘an individual perceptual phenomenon rooted in psychological processes’. Consistent with the view that individual factors play a significant role in the appraisal and experience of...

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