Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress

Mark Le Fevre (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Jonathan Matheny (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
and
Gregory S. Kolt (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 1 November 2003

Abstract

We examine the concepts of stress, distress, and eustress and develop three tenets that are used to relate these concepts to three major theories or models of occupational stress. Selye's concept of eustress or “good stress” appears to be largely ignored in the literature, while the Yerkes Dodson Law is illustrated as a model for management practice. We suggest that the meaning assigned to the word stress has shifted from Selye's original formulation, and that this shift, in conjunction with the use of the Yerkes Dodson Law leads to inappropriate management of stress in organizations. We conclude that the concept that some stress is good and enhances performance should be rejected in favour of more useful and accurate concepts.

Keywords

Citation

Le Fevre, M., Matheny, J. and Kolt, G. (2003), "Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 726-744. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940310502412

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Publisher

:

MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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