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Investigating UK work-related stress

25 January 2008

Stress at work

Cardiff researchers investigating the causes and effects of work-related stress in organisations throughout the UK have presented their findings to an invited audience at the University.

The seminar was presented by the Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre, which is a joint venture between the Schools of Psychology and Social Sciences.

Drawn from major public and private sector organisations in South Wales, the audience were introduced to work being done by a research team led by Professor Andrew Smith of the School of Psychology.

Professor Smith and his team gave a number of presentations during the seminar, detailing the history of their work as well as providing updates and new findings from their various studies into work-related stress.

The presentations included details of research which has shown that a key factor in work-related stress is the exposure to different combinations of stressors, which Professor Smith outlined in his presentation. Another member of the team, Katherine Chaplin described her work which has focused on how missing breakfast and snacking at work can affect stress levels.

Professor Smith, of the School of Psychology said: "Work-related stress accounts for over a third of all new incidences of ill health, and in 2006/07, a total of 13.8 million working days were lost to work-related stress, depression and anxiety. Our work in this area to date has been influential in increasing knowledge and understanding of stress at work. The seminar allowed us to extend that understanding further and introduce people from right across the work spectrum to some of the causes, effects and ways to manage work-related stress."

Other topics covered during the seminar included the development of a methodology to aid job retention in those suffering from stress and mental health problems, and examples of how a stress audit in the work-place can be carried out. The seminar also involved the audience in a general discussion on the subject of work-related stress.

The seminar is part of a series given by the Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre.