International Journal of Stress Management

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 129–145 | Cite as

Workplace Phobia: Psychological and Psychophysiological Mechanisms

  • Janet Haines
  • Christopher L. Williams
  • Jacqueline M. Carson


The aim of this study was to determine if a group of individuals who exhibited phobic avoidance of the workplace could be identified in terms of their psychological and psychophysiological responses to stressful work events. Work- phobic, work-stressed, and nonstressed control groups' responses to a stressful work event and a neutral event were compared using personalized guided imagery scripts. Each script was divided into 4 stages to examine participants' responses as they developed during the course of the event. All participants demonstrated increased psychophysiological arousal and psychological response to stressful work events in comparison with neutral events. Also, the work-phobic group demonstrated a markedly elevated heart rate response and subjective reports of fear that distinguished them from the other groups. The development of the phobic avoidance response was discussed in terms of learning theory.

occupational stress phobia imagery psychophysiology 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Haines
    • 1
  • Christopher L. Williams
    • 2
  • Jacqueline M. Carson
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of TasmaniaTasmaniaAustralia
  2. 2.University of TasmaniaAustralia

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