Occupational Stress Affects Mental Health

These are the guidelines for your assignment. You need to follow them to the fullest.
I. Research Paper Minimum Requirements:

  1. APA format.
  2. A minimum of 5 pages not including cover and references pages.
  3. Font greater than 12 pt will not be accepted.
  4. The paper must be double spaced.
  5. You must use the three articles provided on the assignment and the textbook as
    reference. You can also use additional journal article related to the topic.
  6. It should be in your own words. If it is not your idea or comment, give recognition to the
    author who stated the idea or comment by citing the source.
  7. Under no circumstances should you cut and paste from other articles. This is considered
    plagiarism and could be grounds for an “F” and dismissal.
  8. Close attention will be given to the topic at hand, application of knowledge learned
    during the course, research found, and the conclusion.
  9. Integration of the articles will be considered in the content criteria
  10. Poor spelling will result in deduction of points.
    II. Topic for Psychology Research Paper: How occupational stress affects mental health?
  11. Using the provided articles and your textbook, describe the relationship between work
    stress and mental health.
  12. Your paper should address the following questions at a minimum:
    a. Why stress affects mental health?
    b. What are the symptoms of stress and anxiety cause by work?
    c. Who is at-risk of experiencing these conditions?
    d. How individuals should deal with stress and anxiety?
    e. How this knowledge will help you in your career?

How Occupational Stress Affects Mental Health


To get an accurate definition of the term occupational stress it is necessary to dissect it into its
component words namely ‘occupational’ and ‘stress.’ The term occupational is derived from the
word occupation which is what one does on a daily basis. The term occupation has a bias
towards income generating activities such as employment or work though it covers anything one
does on a regular basis such as being a student or otherwise. Stress on the other hand is
psychological pressure that is exerted on or experienced by an individual. This is a natural
phenomenon which is known to produce positive results when it is experienced in reasonable
levels and have adverse effects when it is acute. Unlike occupations which are largely tangible,
stress is intangible though its effects may be having visible symptoms (Johnson et al, 2005).

Consequently, occupational stress can be said to be psychological pressure that a person
experiences as a result of his or her day to day activities. Mental health on the other hand refers
to the state of well-being that a person’s mind is. Over the past decade the medical fraternity as
well as the research community has seen an increase in interest in the implications that stress has
on a person’s overall health. Since the mind literally all the bodily functions, it is has become
necessary to analyse the effect that stress has on it as this will give pointers regarding various
factors that are associated with occupational stressors. Some questions that have demanded
answers for a long time in this regard include the relevance of several work related parameters to
how stress will affect his or her mental health. These parameters include one’s place of work, the
profession, physical environment at the work place, the position one occupies on the

organization and also the relationship one has with fellow workmates among others (Johnson et
al, 2005).

The connection between Mental Health and the Stress

Since occupational stress is just a subcategory of stress, it is necessary to take a general
perspective that looks at stress and what it implies to one’s mental health. According to
Neuroscientists, the effect that stress has on one’s brain is to alter its function making it operate
in a way that has adverse effects on a person. One of the ways that stress affects one’s brain is
through interference with the reward system or reward centres. It has been observed that people
who have experienced severe stress lack the ability to derive pleasure from the things they do.
This is to say that one fails to get fulfilment from accomplishing goals that he or she has met. As
a result an unassailable gloomy mood sets in as efforts to uplift the person’s spirits are rendered
powerless. Soldiers who have been through war are appropriate examples of this phenomenon
since they have in several instances been quoted to saying that they find no joy in what they do.

The brain’s pre frontal cortex which hosts the function of higher level thinking also gets
negatively affected when an individual has been through stress of one form or another. When one
experiences high levels of stress, the brain releases a chemical that reduces and in some instances
even stops this part from functioning. When this happens, an individual will find it difficult to
have clarity of mind thus rendering the person unpredictable as well as unproductive. This results
from the inability of the person to reflect on what he or she is doing or saying. As a result the
probability of such an individual resorting to violent means is heightened.

With relation to the workplace, occupational stress results in demotivated personnel and this can
be very dangerous in the event that the person experiencing acute stress has a sensitive job. Such
jobs include doctors, nurses and even law enforcement personnel (Bennett et al, 2001). If one’s
core motivation to do any of such tasks was the fulfilment that results from success, dire results
are bound to be realized in that work station due to problems such as lacklustre investigations of
the patients’ conditions in the case of doctors. Misreading or ignoring of a patient’s vitals by
nurses and the endangerment of the members of the public for law enforcement personnel. The
undesired results only serve to increase the workers’ levels of stress thus leading to a vicious
cycle. The fact that another effect is the inability to process higher level thoughts hampers any
desire or efforts to find a solution and by this stage external intervention becomes a necessity so
as to save not just the individual’s job but the overall well-being of the person which has been
put on the balance courtesy of stress (Golubic et al, 2009).

Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety caused by work

When one gets stressed by his or her job, there are several tell-tale signs that can be observed by
the person and most likely those they work with and live with. Work related stress manifests
itself in different ways when it is affecting the individual or affecting a group of workers. When
it comes to the symptoms of work related stress on an individual, the symptoms will be seen in
his or her emotions, behaviour and also in the manner that the mental processes are carried out.

Mental Symptoms of work-related stress.

A person who has work related stress will have trouble concentrating on his or her job. This is
seen through one being easily distracted from his/her roles in the office.

Confusion is another symptom of work-related stress and it is seen in the results on one’s work.
This may involve miscalculations, improper labelling and even the misplacement of vital
documents. Such a person is also bound to have trouble remembering things both at work and
away from work.

Emotional Symptoms of work-related stress

A person with work-related stress is often negative about everything and appears to be
depressed. One is also bound to react emotionally rather than objectively to work-related issues.

Disappointment with self is another symptom of work-related stress.

A person’s sleep patterns also change drastically leading one to either oversleep or under sleep.
In association with this lateness, absenteeism and the taking of breaks from work also increase.

Work-related stress makes a person restless and generally nervous.

Behavioural changes due to work related stress

A person’s eating habits are also bound to change and this is in the form of either over-eating or
under-eating. If one consumes alcohol or smoke cigarettes, an increase in frequency and quantity
is often noted.

One’s moods are also bound to display irrationality in that they randomly change without

People At risk of experiencing work-related stress

Though stress is common to everyone who is employed, those who have a huge work load with
limited time to carry out their duties are more likely to experience work-related stress. Others
who experience this are employees who have limited autonomy and thus work in a strictly
regulated environment. If the role one plays in an organization is not well defined he or she is
likely to experience work related stress. Little or no support from the relevant superiors and
supervisors is another risk factor for work-related stress. If organizational change is not
adequately and systematically managed then there is a high likelihood of workers experiencing
stress. Another change that can stress a worker is when he or she has been given a transfer that
necessitates a geographical shift. If a worker has been subjected to injustice of any form in the
context of work they are bound to be stressed.

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety at work

The most appropriate step is to be urgent with the matter and address if as soon as possible
before it gets out of hand. If it is a person causing this stress then it is necessary to inform them
in an affirmative manner or inform superiors if need be. Workers should also learn to develop
good relationships with fellow work mates so that they can freely talk about what is bothering
them. This is very therapeutic and reduces the level of stress one experiences. It is important for
workers to have other activities that they engage in so as to break the monotony of work. This
may include taking up a hobby and more importantly getting some rest as well as making use of
the breaks provided for at work. If the stress is too much and there is little the worker can do, it
becomes necessary for him or her to seek an alternative job.

How this information can help me in my professional life

This information will help me through first of all understanding and taking note at possible
stressors that I may experience in my career path. I will then find out the coping mechanisms that
I can use to overcome this stress. Furthermore, this information will aid me in choosing a career
path that is compatible with me. At the place of work in the event that I land a supervisory or
managerial position, I will strive to keep the work-related stress workers experience at a
minimum based on the information I have.


Bennett,P, * Lowe, R, Matthews, V, DouraliMand TattersallA (2001) Stress in nurses: coping,
managerial support and workdemand, Stress and Health 17: 55–63 (2001)
Golubic, R., Milosevic, M., Knezevic, B., &Mustajbegovic, J. (2009). Work‐related stress,
education and work ability among hospital nurses. Journal of advanced nursing, 65(10), 2056-
Johnson, S., Cooper, C., Cartwright, S., Donald, I., Taylor, P., & Millet, C. (2005).The
experience of work-related stress across occupations. Journal of managerial
psychology, 20(2), 178-187.