Occupational Stress a Major Problem for Canadian Academic Staff



    OTTAWA, Nov. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - One in five professors in Canada are
reporting health problems as a result of on-the-job stress, according to the
first-ever national survey on occupational stress released today by the
Canadian Association of University Teachers.
    "This is the first picture we have of job stress amongst academic staff
in Canada, and it shows very clearly that high levels of stress are a major
problem with serious consequences," said James Turk, CAUT Executive Director.
    Within the 1470 respondents in the survey of randomly chosen staff at
56 universities across the country, the reported incidence of psychological
strain was very high, at about 13 percent. A significant proportion of
22 percent reported relatively high rates of stress-related physical health
problems.
    "These findings should be a wake-up call that institutional policies and
procedures have to change to reduce occupational stress and strain amongst
academic staff," said Ted Haines, one of the study's lead researchers from
McMaster University.

    
    Other major findings of the study include:

       - Overall stress levels of academic staff are very high, with a
         majority of respondents reporting a high level of agreement with
         stress indicators on 7 out of 10 measures used to assess stress in
         the study. These included: work load (85%), work scheduling (73%),
         role conflict (82%), role ambiguity (71%), work-life balance (76%),
         fairness-administration (55%) and fairness-rewards (51%)
       - Those most at risk of stress are women, individuals between the ages
         of 30 and 59, faculty in tenure-track positions, and those whose
         first language is neither French nor English
       - The incidence of psychological strain was considered very high with
         13 percent of respondents exhibiting symptoms of psychological
         distress
       - As well, a significant proportion (22 percent) of the sample
         reported relatively high rates of physical health symptoms
         associated with stress
    

    "High levels of occupational stress are leading to decreased job
satisfaction, reduced morale and increased ill health amongst academic staff,"
said Vic Catano, another of the study's lead researchers from Saint Mary's
University.
    "The incidence of stress varies over different groups, but academics who
are most stressed tend to be female, tenure-track faculty trying to balance
work demands and family commitments," he said.
    The research was undertaken by Vic Catano and Lori Francis from
Saint Mary's University; Ted Haines, Haresh Kirpalani, Harry Shannon and
Bernadette Stringer from McMaster University's program in occupational health
and environmental medicine; and assisted by CAUT's occupational health and
safety officer, Laura Lozanski.

    To view the full analysis, go to:
http://www.caut.ca/en/publications/healthandsafety/CAUTStressStudy-EN.pdf




For further information:

For further information: Dr. Ted Haines, Associate Professor, Department
of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, McMaster University, (905) 525-9140
x 22788 or (416) 252-6471, hainest@mcmaster.ca; Dr. Victor M. Catano,
Professor and Chairperson, Department of Psychology, Saint Mary's University,
(902) 420-5845, vic.catano@smu.ca; Dr. James Turk, Executive Director, CAUT.,
(613) 726-5176, (613) 277-0488 (c), turk@caut.ca

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Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

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