26th APS Annual Convention: Mark Your Calendar (San Francisco, CA, USA - May 22-25, 2014)

Symposium

New Perspectives on Stress and Coping in a Work-Related Context

Friday, May 23, 2014, 10:30 AM - 11:50 AM
Union Square 16

Chair: Elissa S. Epel
University of California, San Francisco

Work-related stress is a major challenge in Western societies. This symposium aims at synthesizing new research and differing perspectives on development, symptoms and treatment of stress. The speakers discuss how collective and individual-oriented perspectives may benefit future developments in the enhancement of stress treatment and well-being at work.

subtitle: Organizational, social and individual factors in the development and treatment of work- related stress complaints – synthesizing evidence

In recent years there has been a growing interest in the area of work-related stress in European countries and work-related stress is considered a major cause of sickness absence in Western societies. During the same period out-patient clinics of occupational medicine in Denmark have experienced a rise in patients with work-related stress complaints. Many of these patients are also on sick leave due in part to maintaining factors like impaired sleep and cognitive problems in memory and concentration. The word stress may be defined as the subjective experience of demands or pressures that are not matched to the knowledge and abilities of the individual, thereby posing a threat to his or her well-being (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Additionally, according to Cohen et al., (1997), the stress process involves both stressors outside the individual as well as the psychological and physiological reactions within the individual. Whether or not the individual will feel stressed in a particular situation, according to Lazarus, is dependent on cognitive appraisals and coping mechanisms. Stress in the current context is therefore elicited and maintained by behaviours, cognitions, and perceptions of the individual as well as the characteristics of the work environment. The main purpose of this symposium is to draw attention to new research on the development and treatment of work-related stress complaints. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative research, the aim is to synthesize evidence from two main perspectives. From a cultural and organizational perspective, the symposium will present new research on the impact of collective and social processes on appraisal and coping in the workplace. From a more individualized perspective, research on cognitive treatment of work-related stress complaints and research on the occurrence of cognitive impairments among these patients will be presented. What can we learn from these different perspectives on stress and work, and how may the shared knowledge between social/cultural- and individual- oriented research benefit future developments in the enhancement of stress treatment and well-being at work?

 
Subject Area: Industrial/Organizational

Collective Stress and Coping at Work
Tanja Kirkegaard
Regional Hospital Herning, and Aalborg University, Denmark
This study examines the collective nature of stress and coping. A mixed methods case study at a Danish organization indicates significant group differences in a variety of coping strategies (p<.05). The ethnographic part of the study describes different subcultures which mediate distinct ways of appraising and coping at work.


Cognitive Impairments in Outpatients with Perceived Work-related Stress
Anita Eskildsen
The Regional Hospital Herning, and Aarhus University, Denmark
This study examined the occurrence of cognitive impairments in a group of patients (n=60) with work-related stress complaints compared to a matched control group without stress. The results revealed that patients showed moderately reduced performances on processing speed and prospective memory (Cohen’s d = 0.5-1.0, p<.05).

Co-Author: Lars Peter Andersen PhD, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Dept. of Occupational Medicine, The Regional Hospital Herning

Co-Author: Anders Degn Pedersen MS, Vejlefjord Rehabilitation Centre, Stouby

Co-Author: Johan Hviid Andersen PhD, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Dept. of Occupational Medicine, The Regional Hospital Herning


Reducing work-related stress: a randomized controlled trial
Ligaya Ponce Dalgaard
The Regional Hospital Herning, and Aarhus University, Denmark
This study evaluated a cognitive intervention for sick-listed patients with work-related stress. At 4 months follow-up the treatment group (n=57) showed larger improvements than the control group (n=80) on perceived stress (p=0.01, Cohen’s d=0.51) and mental health (p=0.006, Cohen’s d=0.66). After 10 months the groups no longer differed.

Co-Author: David Glasscock PhD, 1) Danish Ramazzini Centre, Dept. of Occupational Medicine, The Regional Hospital Herning. 2) Dept. of Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus

Co-Author: Ole Carstensen MD, Dept. of Occupational Medicine, Hospital of South Western Jutland


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