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Work-related stress study

18 January 2008

Cardiff University researchers investigating the causes and effects of work-related stress will present their latest findings to an invited audience at the University on Monday 21st January. The seminar is 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 will be introduced to work being done by researchers at the Centre, led by Professor Andrew Smith of the School of Psychology.

Professor Smith and his team will give 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 will include 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 will outline in his presentation. Another member of the team, Katherine Chaplin will describe 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. This seminar will allow 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 will include 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 will also involve the audience in a general discussion on the subject of work-related stress, in which the methods of preventing and managing stress will be outlined as part of a ‘mental health first-aid’ presentation given by a representative of the charity Mind Cymru.

The seminar is part of a series given by the Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre, and runs between 2 and 6pm on 21 January at the School of Social Sciences.


Notes to Editors:

1. School of Psychology

The School of Psychology is one of Britain top-rated schools of psychology, it being the first to achieve the double accolade of the highest grade of merit for both research and teaching. In an independent assessment of teaching, conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales it was rated ‘Excellent’, and in the latest Research Assessment Exercise it was awarded the highest level of distinction, Grade 5A, indicating research of a uniform international standard. The School is one of the largest Schools of psychology in the United Kingdom. It currently has some 40 full-time teaching staff, including 12 professors, alongside 40 full-time research staff, and nearly 60 research students.

The School’s researchers are aligned with five focal areas:

Behavioural neuroscience (understanding the mechanism of learning and memory)

Cognitive ergonomics (human factors and human-computer interaction)

Cognition and neuropsychology (understanding how we see, hear, remember, solve problems, learn language, etc)

Personal relationships (in particular romantic relationships, family relationships, children peer interactions, and the elderly)

Social cognition (stereotyping, causal attribution, the self, intergroup relationships, and social influence)

2. Cardiff School of Social Sciences

The School of Social Sciences encompasses teaching and research in social studies and education. Within social studies, the School has research interests in five main areas: criminology and criminal justice; health and medicine, knowledge and social change; modernity (time, risk, environment); and social welfare systems. Recent research includes investigation of drug use, white collar fraud, child welfare, domestic violence and European environmental policies. Many of the staff are international experts in their fields.

The School’s education programmes are aimed at students who are interested in the psychological, social and political dimensions of education, as well as those who are vocationally-orientated. Education-related degrees are recognised by the British Psychological Society for the Graduate Basis for Registration, which provides the basis for future training in psychology-related professions. At a postgraduate level, it offers a range of research and taught Masters schemes in education, in addition to the PGCE for teaching in Further Education.

The School’s research contributions in education management and policy; psychology of education and special educational needs; and post-compulsory education and training are internationally-recognised and are the foundation of its teaching programmes. In the independent government assessment of teaching quality, the School was awarded the highest, "Excellent" rating.

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, the School was awarded a Grade 5 Star rating for Education and a Grade 5 for Sociology, indicating research of international excellence.

3. Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. It is also ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES).

2008 marks the 125th anniversary of Cardiff University having been founded by Royal Charter in 1883. Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities. Visit the University website at:

Further Information:

For further information, please contact:

Professor Andrew Smith
Director, Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology
School of Psychology
Tel: 02920 874757

Victoria Dando
Public Relations Office
Cardiff University
Tel: 02920 879074