One in Four Is Laid Low by Stress at Work; under Pressure: Bullying in the Workplace

Daily Mail (London), May 21, 1999 | Go to article overview

One in Four Is Laid Low by Stress at Work; under Pressure: Bullying in the Workplace


Byline: JENNY HOPE

AT least one in five workers claims to suffer 'extreme stress' because of poor conditions, lack of support and long hours, according to a survey yesterday.

Up to 1,000 of 4,000 volunteers taking part in the Government-backed study say they have been sick or have had symptoms of physical and mental ill-health caused or made worse by workplace pressure during the past year.

The disturbing findings emerged from the first British survey on the scale of occupational stress, which is looking at 4,000 workers from cleaners and surgeons to hairdressers and university professors.

Final results from the three-year survey commissioned from Bristol University by the Health and Safety Executive are expected next year.

But the interim findings released yesterday give the first comprehensive picture of the impact of the problem on health and emotional wellbeing.

About a fifth of the men surveyed work more than 50 hours a week as well as one

in 20 women.

The one in five who feel 'very' or 'extremely' under pressure, reporting 'stress factors' from long hours to noise levels, are also more likely to have physical symptoms and mental ill-health, said the survey.

In concluding that work is the biggest cause of pressure in many people's lives, the study revealed that stress levels outside the workplace are lower for most people.

Only 17 per cent of those reporting the worst problems at work also feel stressed at home.

Research psychologist Dr Sarbjit Johal, a member of the study team, said: 'These people are not whingers as the survey shows there is verylittle overlap between those experiencing stress at work as well as home. The problem is specific to work.' Stress tests, including blood analysis, were being conducted before and after a day's work in an attempt to identify the most stress-making jobs, he added. …

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