Here’s an interesting study that finds workers who are most invested in their jobs are also the ones most likely to be stressed. Dewa, Thompson, and Jacobs (2011) analyzed data from 2737 working adults in Alberta, Canada. They wanted to examine the relationship between job stress and work responsibilities and job characteristics.
The researchers discovered that roughly 18% of the workers in the study considered their job “highly stressful.” Male employees, who did not consider their job a career or who were highly satisfied with their jobs were significantly less likely to identify their jobs as “highly stressful.” The chance of an employee describing a job as “highly stressful” significantly increased as workers viewed their actions have an effect on those around them or when their jobs required additional or variable hours.
Conclusions: A number of factors are associated with experiencing high work stress including being more engaged with work. This has important implications for employers, particularly regarding where interventions may be targeted.
- Chronic exposure to high work stress can transform into burnout, mental disorders and disability.
- Workers with disrupted marriages and managers/professionals are more likely to identify their jobs as being associated with high stress.
- The probability of describing a job as “highly stressful” significantly increases as workers perceive their actions have an effect on co-workers, the environment and their company as well as when their jobs require additional or variable hours.
- Among those who perceive their jobs as highly stressful, there are significantly lower proportions of workers who are males, under 25 years, single/never married and who have not completed high school.
Dewa, C.S., Thompson, A.H., & Jacobs, P. (2011). Relationships between job stress and worker perceived responsibilities and job characteristics. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2(1), 37-46.