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Having a job in many ways improves an individual’s health and overall attitude toward life. However, many people face significant stress in the workplace that it outweighs any possible benefits and even poses a threat to their health.
The United States’ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health defines job stress as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can, in turn, lead to poor health and even injury.
Many workers report experiencing work-related stress at their jobs and this compromises their performance and health. A recent survey by Northwestern National Life revealed that about 40% of workers reported that their jobs were extremely stressful. In another survey by Yale University, 29% of workers reported feeling extreme stress because of their jobs.
Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades. Increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders. In New York, Los Angels and other municipalities, the relationship between job stress and heart attacks is so well acknowledged, that any police officer who suffers a coronary event on or off the job is assumed to have a work-related injury and is compensated accordingly (including heart attack sustained while fishing on vacation or gambling in Las Vegas).