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The experience of work‐related stress across occupations

Sheena Johnson (School of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)
Cary Cooper (Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK)
Sue Cartwright (Manchester School of Management, UMIST, Manchester, UK)
Ian Donald (School of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)
Paul Taylor (School of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK)
Clare Millet (Robertson Cooper Ltd, Manchester, UK)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 1 March 2005




To compare the experience of occupational stress across a large and diverse set of occupations. Three stress related variables (psychological well‐being, physical health and job satisfaction) are discussed and comparisons are made between 26 different occupations on each of these measures. The relationship between physical and psychological stress and job satisfaction at an occupational level is also explored.Design/methodology/approach – The measurement tool used is a short stress evaluation tool which provides information on a number of work related stressors and stress outcomes. Out of the full ASSET database 26 occupations were selected for inclusion in this paper.Findings – Six occupations are reporting worse than average scores on each of the factors – physical health, psychological well‐being and job satisfaction (ambulance workers, teachers, social services, customer services – call centres, prison officers and police). Differences across and within occupational groups, for example, teaching and policing, are detailed. The high emotional labour associated with the high stress jobs is discussed as a potential causal factor.Research limitations/implications – This is not an exhaustive list of occupations and only concerns employees working within the UK.Originality/value – There is little information available that shows the relative values of stress across different occupations, which would enable the direct comparison of stress levels. This paper reports the rank order of 26 different occupations on stress and job satisfaction levels.



Johnson, S., Cooper, C., Cartwright, S., Donald, I., Taylor, P. and Millet, C. (2005), "The experience of work‐related stress across occupations", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 178-187.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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