PSY 209 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Occupational Stress, Coronary Artery Disease, Avoidance Coping
Occupational Health Psychology – applies psychology in organizational setting to improve work
life, safety, and healthy work or how workplace practices affects employees physical and
Occupational health and safety – identifying and controlling the physical and psychosocial
hazards in the work environment.
Statute – legal foundation that employers must comply. Regulations – establish the framework
as to what the employer must do in order to comply with the law. The vast majority of workers
are regulated by provincial legislation.
Those responsible for health and safety: 1) employers, owners, and contractors 2) supervisors
3) workers 4)joint health and safety committee
Job stress – process in which we have an effective reaction to job demands.
NIOSH viewed occupational stress as leading cause of workplace death, and viewed
occupational stress as an “epidemic”. Workplace stress leads to costs, and negative
consequences for individuals and organizations.
- Tends to identify stimuli that may tax an individual or damage them in some way
- Each stimulus could trigger a psychological response that impacts well-being of individual
- Resources may moderate relationship between stimuli and stress outcome
- Perception and cognition in how we appraise the stimuli – different people react differently
- Physiological outcomes (CV, biomechanical, gastrointestinal)
- Psychological outcomes (job dissatisfaction, depression, anxiety, frustration, hostility,
- Behavioural outcomes (disruption of the work role in terms of errors/performance)
6 general stress models:
Transactional stress model – emphasizes the importance of individual perception in the stress
- This model differentiates between stressors, perceived stress, and strain. Stressors are
environmental stimuli that threaten the individual. Primary appraisal – process by which
you perceive stressor as negative (as a stressor), positive (As a challenge) or benign.
Perceived stress – individual perception about the extent to which you perceive a stressor
-Secondary appraisal – process through which you appraise your coping resources (social
support, and resources) If you feel you don’t have the coping resources to deal with the
stress, strain may result.
-Strain outcomes – can be psychological (Depression and anxiety), physiological (inc BP,
high salivary cortisol levels), behavioural (overeating, smoking)
- Individuals vary in their perception of the same stressors.
- Stressors>primary appraisal>stress>secondary appraisal>strain
Conservation of Resources Theory – individuals strive to obtain and maintain the resources
Resources: objects, personal characteristics, conditions, or energies that are valued or used.
Negative health outcomes may occur if a threat is perceived << to the resources and when
there is an actual loss in resources.
The person-job fit model – how a misfit between individual and job can create stress
a) Incongruity between job demands and individual ability
b) Incongruity between persons needs and what organization gives to the person –
problem with benefits?
Job demand – job control model – employees experience high mental strain and job
dissatisfaction with high job demands and low job control. Low/low=low/moderate stress;
high/high=moderate stress; low/high=low stress
Effort-reward imbalance – imbalance between efforts and rewards earned may create
psychological distress, leading to increased health risk. This can cause CV risk factors, health
complaints, and coronary heart disease.
Job demands-resources model -
Explains how health outcomes are the product of the working environment (physical,
psychological, social, and organizational) which can be categorized as either demands (to inc.
health impairment) or resources (to inc. engagement)
Job demands decrease an individual’s physical and psychological resources leading to burnout
and other negative health outcomes. According to the motivation process, access to job
resources can increase employee engagement and other positive outcomes.
Demands/Stressors: - external and internal events and stimuli –
a) Job content and control – the actual tasks that people perform at work (job content)
can contribute to perceptions of strain and stress. Repetitive tasks that do not use the
full skill of the individual can cause higher strain. Having control over the work,
scheduling, and amount of work is associated with lower stress and strain and increased
job satisfaction, commitment, and involvement.
b) Interpersonal Relationships – interpersonal conflict can cause depression. Workplace
social support is associated with lower strain. Interpersonal injustice can lead to
increased stress and strain outcomes.
c) Workload and Work Pace- Poor work-life balance from actual and perceived work.
Being overworked is associated with psychological and physiological strain.
d) Role Stressors – From ambiguous roles and conflicting role demands.
e) Career concerns – from job insecurity, work satefy, and effort-reward imbalance.
f) Work Scheduling - Employees who work non-standard hourse experience more health
These six categories can be organized into job specific, interpersonal, and
Stigma- severe social disapproval
Non-work demands: later
Control – what type, how, when, and where you do your work is associated with positive health
outcomes for employees.
Support – may reduce workplace stressors on employee health outcomes.
Justice – Fair treatment (procedural justice, fair outcomes (distributive justice) and fair
treatment are associated with fewer strain outcomes, higher commitment, and higher job
Family, Life, and Personal Resources –
Our initial appraisal of a situation may be a factor of our personality and coping style
Social Support: Support from family and friends is associated with lower strain
Personal characteristics: locus of control has a moderating effect on well-being. Self-
esteem/efficacy have a positive effect on well-being. Type A behavior can cause cardiovascular
disease and related health disorders. Hardiness can have an effect on strain.
Coping style: emotional-focused coping – involves making yourself feel better. Problem-
focused coping – involves actively doing something to try to make the problem better.