The experience of work‐related stress across occupations

Sheena Johnson, Cary Cooper, Susan Cartwright, Ian Donald, Paul Taylor, Clare Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

929 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – To compare the experience of occupational stress across a large and diverse set of occupations. Three stress related variables (psychological well-being, physical health and job satisfaction) are discussed and comparisons are made between 26 different occupations on each of these measures. The relationship between physical and psychological stress and job satisfaction at an occupational level is also explored.
Design/methodology/approach – The measurement tool used is a short stress evaluation tool which provides information on a number of work related stressors and stress outcomes. Out of the full ASSET database 26 occupations were selected for inclusion in this paper.
Findings – Six occupations are reporting worse than average scores on each of the factors – physical health, psychological well-being and job satisfaction (ambulance workers, teachers, social services, customer services – call centres, prison officers and police). Differences across and within occupational groups, for example, teaching and policing, are detailed. The high emotional labour associated with the high stress jobs is discussed as a potential causal factor.
Research limitations/implications – This is not an exhaustive list of occupations and only concerns employees working within the UK.
Originality/value – There is little information available that shows the relative values of stress across different occupations, which would enable the direct comparison of stress levels. This paper reports the rank order of 26 different occupations on stress and job satisfaction levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178
Number of pages187
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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