TORONTO, Jan. 25 /CNW/ - A workplace's key employees may be at the
greatest risk of experiencing high levels of work stress, according to
a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
In a survey of 2,737 workers, 18 per cent reported that their job was
The odds of having high stress were greater if workers were managers or
professionals, if they thought their poor job performance could
negatively affect others, or if they worked long or variable hours. The
study was published in this month's International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
"The people who report high stress are the ones most invested in their
jobs," says Dr. Carolyn Dewa, Senior Scientist and Head of CAMH's Work
and Well-being Research and Evaluation Program. "Employers should be
very concerned with keeping this population healthy. From a business
perspective, it is in a company's best interest to support these
The job characteristics associated with stress pointed to workers who
were engaged and responsible. If workers felt their poor job
performance could result in any physical injury, damage to company's
equipment or reputation, or a financial loss, they were twice as likely
to report high stress.
Having a worksite remote from their home, or having to entertain or
travel for their jobs also increased the odds of being stressed. So did
variable hours such as being on call, doing shift work or having a
compressed work week.
Chronic stress can lead to burnout, and can worsen existing mental
health problems or physical disability.
The study's goal was to learn how workers view their responsibilities
and job characteristics, and their experience with stress. This
information could be used to help develop interventions targeting both
workers and their work environment, which is considered a more
"It is important that employees have access to resources that address
their mental health concerns. In the long run, these interventions can
help save some of the annual $17 billion in lost productivity in
Canada," said Dewa. "Employers should be asking, 'What am I doing to
reduce stress in my most valuable people?'"
The survey included Alberta adults aged 18 to 65 who had worked the
previous year in full range of settings, including offices,
manufacturing, construction, farming and services, among others. Dewa
notes, "These sources of stress that we identified will be the same for
Canadian workers wherever they are based, as they held true across
different locations and workplaces in our survey."
On the other end of the scale, 82 per cent of workers reported low or no
stress. This group was more likely to be male, single, under the age of
25 or work in a small business. In addition, if workers were satisfied
with their jobs, they were less likely to identify their jobs as being
Compared with the rest of Canada, Alberta reports slightly lower levels
of stress than the rest of the country, the study notes.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical
care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to
help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and
addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of
Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health
Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit www.camh.net.
SOURCE Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
For further information:
Media contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations, 416-595-6015; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow CAMH media updates on twitter: http://twitter.com/CamhMediaUpdate
Become a fan of CAMH's Official Facebook Page