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With reference to relevant theories, describe what the main sources of stress at work are in general and as a student

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Introduction

With reference to relevant theories, describe what the main sources of stress at work are in general? Do any of these apply to you as a student? If so, what could you do to alleviate it? There are a lot of definitions of stress and there are also various angles that you can look from at stress - for example you could look at it focusing on the social and psychological effects, human factors or from the pschophysiological and neuroscience perspective. In my opinion, the best definition of stress gives Richard S Lazarus by saying that stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that "demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize"1 (see picture)2, as this is how I often feel as a student. As you will see from this essay, a lot of stress factors experienced at work, also apply to us as students and the methods to reduce stress at work can also be helpful for us to cope better with university life. There are three main stressors: role stressors, decision making stressors and workplace stressors. A role stress factor that is probably best known to students is the work role transition, which occurs when a person stars a new job facing uncertainty in a completely new environment. Without a predecessor there is no help available from other the socialization into the role happens informally and randomly. When I started university I was obviously nervous and worried about how I am going to cope with studies and the new environment and whether I am going to find friends. ...read more.

Middle

A way of alleviating it is making decisions, however, this process also involves stress and may reduce the quality of the decision making process. Janis (1982) has found out that individuals display one of five decision making styles when attempting to deal with decisional stress. The behaviour can be unchanged and information about the risks of continuing in the same way ignored (incoflicted adherence) or the most salient/most strongly recommended course of action is adopted uncritically, without any contingency plans and psychological preparation for setbacks (unconflicted change), or the individual hesitates only to choose the easiest way out, ignoring information that suggest that the decision might be wrong (defensive avoidance). Other styles would be to frantically search for a way out and taking upon any plan that could deliver a quick solution (hypervigilance) or carefully research the relevant information in order to appraise of all the alternatives before taking a decision (vigilance).7 Cameron and Meichenbaum (1982) have developed an approach called stress inoculation, which is used by many psychologists in courses which are supposed to help people understanding decision-making stress and how to cope with it. The program consists of three stages: conceptualization, skill acquisition and activation and rehearsal and application. To me it was very important to take decisions in order to not be so stressed anymore. After a couple of weeks of ignoring the problem (incoflicted adherence), I quit my job after realizing that I have earned enough money to enjoy myself without worrying myself and my parents about the budget and therefore gaining more time for studying (vigilance). ...read more.

Conclusion

by time management or following the advices given by the university. As you can see, there are various factors that might stress a student as well as an employee in a business. However, what affect these stressors have on an individual and how they are dealt with depends on the individual itself and his personality. There is for example the negative affectivity (NA) theory - scoring high on a NA scale (through tests) means experiencing more pessimism and therefore more negative moods. Therefore, there is a direct link between NA and stress: because of having a more negative view of the world, pessimistic individuals tend to identify more stressors in the environment. It also depends on the fact whether the individual has got a Type A or Type B personality. Type A people display that behaviour: strong and sustained drive to achieve poorly defined and self imposed goals, intense desire to compete, desire for recognition and promotion, involvement in numerous and varied activities which have deadlines, habitually fast completion of physical and mental functions, high levels of mental and physical alertness. The motivational basis for all this is the need for control so lack of it causes frustration and therefore stress. In extreme cases, type A behaviour involves tense facial and body muscle tone, rapid body movements, hand- or teeth-clenching, excessive gesturing and explosive speech characteristics. Type B individuals display less striving, aggression, hostility and competitiveness and is in general more relaxed. The risk factor in the type A group for CHD is some six times larger than that for type B (Rosenman et al. 1975). ...read more.

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