Current Research and Practice
Chapter 5: Occupational Stress and Coping
OVERVIEW This chapter reviews some of the recent advances in the research concerning occupational stress, and coping. We begin by discussing the Job Demands–Resources model which has recently emerged as an occupational stress theory. We also review advances in coping research including the focus on positive emotions in the coping process and we evaluate some current issues surrounding the definitions and measurements of psychological burnout. Finally we discuss the rather limited progress made by stress management intervention research and we identify the characteristics included in effective organizational interventions. RECENT ADVANCES IN OCCUPATIONAL STRESS AND COPING THEORIES Fifty years or so of occupational stress research has produced a number of theories describing the antecedents, consequences or the processes involved between occupational stress, individual and organizational outcomes and the variables which influence these associations. The theories still in common application today include, for example, Karasek’s (1979) Job Demands–Control model and its extension to the Job Demands– Control–Support model (Johnson and Hall, 1988; described in Chapter 4), the Person–Environment Fit model (French et al., 1982), the Vitamin Stress model (Warr, 2005), and the Work Stress model (Cooper, 2005). These theories are widely described within the literature (for example O’Driscoll et al., 2008) and we will not therefore replicate these discussions here. In this chapter instead we review some of the newly defined occupational stress and coping theories, with a view to evaluating their current or potential contribution to this field. We focus specifically upon the Job Demands–Resources theory...
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