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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 29: Occupational Stress and Health

Charles D. Spielberger and Eric C. Reheiser


Charles D. Spielberger and Eric C. Reheiser In a recent publication of the World Health Organization (WHO), entitled ‘Global Strategy on Occupational Health for All’, it was noted that ‘occupational health and the well-being of working people are crucial prerequisites for productivity and are of utmost importance for overall socioeconomic and sustainable development’ (WHO, 2000, p. 2). The significant impact of health hazards in the workplace has also clearly influenced other global agencies, such as the United Nations and the International Labour Organization. According to the WHO (ibid., p. 6), ‘every citizen of the world has a right to healthy and safe work and to a work environment that enables him or her to live a socially and economically productive life’. Hazards in the workplace have had negative effects on the health and well-being of workers throughout human history. The phrase, ‘mad as a hatter’, came into the English language long before anyone knew that mercury in the materials used in making hats affected the central nervous system (Kahn, 1981). In the 19th century, descriptions of the ‘black lung’ disease of coal miners recognized a causal link between the specific characteristics of a hazardous work environment and a particular physical disorder. While exposure to hazardous physical, chemical or biological substances continue to affect health and working capacity negatively, the WHO estimates that ‘an equal number [30–50 per cent] of working people report psychological overload at work resulting in stress symptoms’ (WHO, 2000, p....

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