The cuts of personnel, the low expectations of development within the companies, the socioeconomic changes and the difficulties of reconciling personal life with work, among other reasons, have contributed to the welfare of workers has been significantly affected.

This has led much research in the field of organizational psychology to have focused on this line of work, and thanks to this much progress have been made in understanding why this phenomenon occurs and what can be done to prevent and reduce it.

Labor stress: a multifactorial phenomenon

Stress is a multifactorial phenomenon that has its origin not only in the factors of the workplace (the excess of tasks, monotony, etc.), but there are many causes that may cause its appearance.

Organizational factors like new technologies also influence the onset and development of stress. Some examples are the leadership styles of the superiors, the organizational communication the possibilities of promotion within the company, the human resource policies of the companies or the relationship with the co-workers.

This last point is especially important since social support cannot only become a stressor but can act as a buffer. In other words, when stress has occurred, the relationship with coworkers can reduce the impact of stress on an individual.

Stress at work as a collective phenomenon

The studies have also provided evidence that social factors (economic crisis, cultural expectations, etc.) and extra-organizational elements (for example, the bad relationship with the couple or economic problems in the home) work as stressors and, for, Therefore, they can contribute to stress manifesting in the workplace.

Recently, some authors affirm that stress occurs at several levels and that a collective analysis of this phenomenon is essential, otherwise it becomes impossible to prevent and control it. People, when working in a group, share their invention ideas or emotional experiences, and both these emotional experiences and experiences of stress can be contagious. The shared expression of these emotions is called “affective tone” or “emotional climate”.

The role of the individual in coping with stress

However, without neglecting this trans-level and collective vision of stress, the role of the individual in coping with stress is also important, after all, it is he who suffers the negative consequences and experiences the symptoms and consequences of this phenomenon.

The mismatch between the existing demands and the control that the person has to face these demands is decisive so that stress does not occur. Also, the individual can adopt a series of habits to prevent stress and combat discomfort when it is present.


Work-related stress can significantly alter our lives and affect our thinking and behavior, causing physiological, physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral reactions. These are some of the most common signs:

  • Accelerated heart rhythm and tachycardia
  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension and contractures
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Concentration problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Bad Mood
  • Difficulty when making decisions
  • Increase in the consumption of psychoactive substances (tobacco, alcohol, etc.)


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