Stress and Its Effects Thesis

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Unresolved Stress/Corrections

Unmitigated and unresolved stress is one of the most significant social problems in the world today. Many people demonstrate significant aspects of stress-related illness and in many cases such stress is associated with work or a combination of life and work. The body, is brilliantly designed to help resolve stress through processes that are rarely required in today's world, i.e. The fight or flight physiological phenomena, yet most stress today requires much a more subtle physical and mental response to stress and most stress is not life threatening. It is for this reason and many others that the body is not completely prepared to deal with the more subtle forms of stress and strain associated with the norms of today's work and life. (Devito, 1994, p. 27) Unresolved stress then gets supplanted and suppressed, as a matter of coping and can in the long or even relatively short-term effect the mind and body in negative ways, so much so that stress itself becomes an issue of safety, especially in situations of work that require fundamental reserve to mitigate. The definitions of stress and strain are important for this research investigation and are as follows;

Stress has been described as a "perception of imbalance between resources and demand." [1] Strain is defined as "an immediate, short-term emotional response" to the imbalance between resources and demands, which is "characterized by feelings of anxiety, tension, fatigue and exhaustion." [2] & #8230; [3]the potential effects of work-related stress include increased absenteeism, employee turnover, illness, marital problems, and alcohol or drug use [or abuse]. [4,5,6] (Black, 2001, p. 83)Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Thesis on Stress and Its Effects Assignment

Research regarding stress has increased exponentially over the last 20-30 years and has developed into a whole database that attempts to evaluate and define the physical, mental and even financial effects of stress on individuals and institutions. It would also seem that modern stress is anomalous to the logic of economics, as there was previously significant evidence that material affluence, associated with post-industrial work, and increased resources should result in reduced psychological stress and even contentment, and yet it seems that stability, beyond the obtaining of the very basic necessities of food and shelter does not necessarily reduce stress and can be seen in the modern world as increasing it.

…working populations in industrial countries such as the United States and Sweden, who should be experiencing the highest levels of satisfaction in history, are showing increasing signs of stress. People born in the United States during the last thirty years are more than three times as likely to experience depression than were their grandparents (Seligman 1988; Robbins et al. 1984); the number of mental health professionals more than quintupled between 1947 and 1977 (Mechanic 1980); worker's compensation claims related to stress have tripled since 1980 (Grippa and Durbin 1986); and losses to the U.S. economy associated with job stress are currently estimated to be as large as $150 billion per year (Freudenheim 1987). (Theorell & Karasek, 1990, p. I)

Our economy and social structure are not inherently designed to resolve stress and strain, for the individual, as they are designed to provide profit and only very secondarily, security for workers. The modern industrial organization structure is systematically increasing stress among workers and even greater stress for those who find themselves in situations of poverty.

… our model, designed to yield the greatest good for the greatest number, have omitted much that is important. These models appear to be forcing us to trade off our psychological well-being for material affluence, instead of enhancing both. Is stress from our work environments serious enough to cause heart disease, the major cause of death in industrial societies (World Health Organization 1984)? Could the same aspects of the work situation that cause stress also reduce productivity? If the answer to both these questions is yes, there would seem to be good reason to change our conventional views about how to organize and manage work activity. Yet most of the solutions currently advanced to reduce stress -- relaxation therapies, for example -- address only its symptoms. Little is done to change the source of the problem: work organization itself. While we recognize that stress is damaging, we act as though its sources were inevitable. (Theorell & Karasek, 1990, p. I)

Theorell & Karasek, experts of stress and specifically work related stress contend that one of the most basic problems with stress and how it is viewed in modern society is that stress is seen as a problem of the individual and resolutions are therefore sought in the individual, mainly in behavioral change plans. According to these experts then very little if anything is done to mitigate the environment associated with stress. "The full burden of moderating life stressors is placed on the individual, instead of being shared with the environment." (Theorell & Karasek, 1990, p. 84) Theorell & Karasek then believe that if stress is dealt with in a holistic manner, individual, environment and institution, rather than by simply assuming that stress in the environment is inevitable and forcing anyone wishing to resolve it to change their own behaviors and/or reactions to stressors, stress is much more likely to be resolved and avoided.

Finally, stress is often associated with some work environments more than others. Thos environments that force psychological stress, physical strain, fear, environmental and social danger and most importantly ambiguity, uncertainty and high levels of responsibility are much more likely to cause stress than others. There is no example greater than, the field of corrections, as the individual in any given situation is charged with the responsibly to care and protect other individuals who are present entirely against their own will. This work will continue with a brief discussion of stress in general, its physical, social and psychological effects and then move on to a more in-depth discussion about stress in the field of corrections. Systematic research about stress and strain in corrections has increased during the last 15 years and cannot be ignored without significant costs to employers and employees. (Black, 2001, p. 83)

Physical, Social and Psychological Stress Reactions

As, has been stated above stress research has become plentiful and productive over the last several years. Though there is a concern that such research has demonstrates an imbalanced look at stress with regard to the individual reaction rather than the source of stress that does not make the research unhelpful in helping gain a better understanding of stress and the stress mechanisms.

For the past several decades, interest in stress has become almost universal. The general response to "stressful events" is believed to follow a fairly consistent pattern known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (Selye, 1956). This syndrome consists of three stages: the alarm stage, the resistance stage, and the exhaustion stage. (Tang & Hammontree, 1992, p. 493)

These realistic, if simplistic observations about stress can help the individual and society look at stress in a systematic way, i.e. To help track the stress response and possibly assist the individual and/or institution in recognizing the level and need for intervention, so that it will be the most effective it can be. The most important aspect of stress, as it relates to work is the relative cost to individuals and institutions. Cost can come in the form of monetary loss but more importantly it is the subtle losses that create reduction in possibility and the stifling of individual potential, one of the greatest human resources known to man. It is therefore exceedingly important to look at stress as a health issue and a community issue, as it is clear from exhaustive research on the subject that the health of individuals and even whole organizations can be seriously challenged by stress-related illness.

The relationship between stress and employees' health is an important concern for human resource managers. It has been suggested in the literature that over 70% of all job absenteeism has been tied to stress-related illness (Adams, 1987). The American Institute of Stress estimates the total cost of stress, including factors like absenteeism and declining productivity at $100 billion per year (the Economist, 1985). Others cite the figure closer to $150 billion per year (Tang & Hammontree, 1992, p. 493)

The community loss of all this human potential is staggering and though the losses to individuals are smaller they are more significant in that there is often no room for such loss, no room in the sense that there is no flexibility in the laws of economy that govern potential for the individual and this in and of itself can and often does increase stress, rather than decreasing it. One way in which stress is played out for the individual is in cardiovascular disease, the leading killer of both men and women in industrial society. Yet, it is also important to note that stress, in balance is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can be a significant motivating factor, assisting the individual in making changes and motivating to greater production. The problem seems to arise when… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Stress and Its Effects.  (2009, March 31).  Retrieved January 24, 2021, from

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"Stress and Its Effects."  31 March 2009.  Web.  24 January 2021. <>.

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"Stress and Its Effects."  March 31, 2009.  Accessed January 24, 2021.