Academic journal article Ahfad Journal

Occupational Stress among Female Academic Staff at Universities in Khartoum State

Academic journal article Ahfad Journal

Occupational Stress among Female Academic Staff at Universities in Khartoum State

Article excerpt


There is growing evidence that universities no longer provide the low stress working environments that they once did (Winefield et al. 2003). Occupational stress levels among academic and administrative staff of universities are generally high (Michailidis 2008). Stress is the general term applied to the pressures people feel in life, the presence of stress at work is almost inevitable in many jobs. Almost any job condition can cause stress, depending on an employees' reaction to it (Newstorm 2007).

An important reason for studying teachers stress is that their work experience can have detrimental effects on them, their students, and the living environment (Wiley 2000). Several studies have shown that occupational stress can lead to various negative consequences for the individual and the workplace (Oginska-Bulik 2006). Stress is created by a multitude of overlapping factors such as, overwhelming overload, ethical dilemmas, difficult relationships with bosses and colleagues, and international uncertainties (Cook and Hunsaker 2001). Researchers suggest that work may be a significant source of stress, and that stress may be tied to serious consequences concerning health symptoms, absenteeism and profession burnout. Stress in the workplace can ultimately rob people of their spirit and passion for the job, resulting in impaired individual functioning (Fairbrother & Warn 2003), low motivation (Vakola & Nikolaou 2005), high absenteeism rates (Ho 1997), decreased capacity to perform (Michie 2002), and poor job performance (Jepson & Forrest 2006).

The nature of work has gone through drastic changes over the last century and it is still changing at whirlwind speed, and with change comes stress inevitably. Occupational stress arises from demands experienced in the working environment that affect how one functions at work and outside work (McGowan, et. al 2006). Occupational stress is an unpleasant emotional state that arises from the perceived uncertainty that a person can meet the demands of the job (Wagner and Hollenbeck, 2005). It can also lead to loss of a sense of responsibility, lack of concern for colleagues (Fairbrother & Warn 2003), breakdown in personal relations with colleagues, low levels of mutual understanding and tolerance, irritability, indecisiveness, poor communication, poor interpersonal skills, feelings of isolation and alienation (Brown et al. 2002), reduced job satisfaction, poor organizational commitment (Vakola & Nikolaou 2005), high staff turnover rates (Salmond & Ropis 2005).

According to (Seaward 2002) researches on the stress phenomenon, as it is referred to today, indicates that 70 and 80 percent of all disease and illness is stress-related most notably coronary heart disease, cancer, the common cold, migraine, headaches, warts, some cases of female infertility, ulcers, insomnia, hypertension, and so forth. Health occupational stress symptoms are symptoms that appeared and are persistent due to stress at work (El-Amin 2010).

Stress leads to physical disorders that are short-range such as an upset stomach; stress over a prolonged time leads to degenerative diseases of the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and other parts of the body (Newstorm and Davis 1993). Teachers stress can lead to adverse physical and psychological effects, as well as work related effects (Wiley 2000). According to the findings of Nelson, et al. (2001), teachers may need a certain skill or personality to adapt well in this job and those who do not adapt may leave the profession. Shreve and Lone (1986), claims that women under long-term stress are in a position of double jeopardy: they are at risk for all the usual stress symptoms, from ulcers to hypertension to chronic fatigue, and they are at risk for such additional stress-mediated disorders as infertility, premenstrual tension, and anxiety neurosis. Symptoms that are either unique to women or are more frequently reported by women than men. …

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