Stress and Strain in the Work Environment: Does It Lead to Illness?

  • Charles J. de Wolff
Part of the NATO Science Series D: (closed) book series (ASID, volume 19)


This paper discusses the relationship between stressors and strains in the work setting. Common wisdom has it that work makes people sick. Workers themselves may attest to same. But, until recently, in the social sciences, a precise understanding of such relationships has be non-existent. Industrial and organizational psychologists have concentrated on non-illness dependent variables, e.g., performance, satisfaction and motivation. Health and illness are lesser known concepts. For example, the handbook of Dunnette (1), widely seen as a milestone in the field, does not even mention these terms in its subject index.


Path Analysis Moderator Variable Occupational Group Role Conflict Work Setting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Dunnette, M.D. (Ed.) Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. ( Chicago, Rand McNally, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kahn, R.L. et al. Organizational Stress: Studies in Role Conflict and Ambiguity. ( New York, Wiley, 1964 ).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    French, J.R.P. and R.D. Caplan. Organizational Stress and Individual Strain. In A.J. Marrow (Ed.) The Failure of Success. (New York, Amacon, 1973).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kasl, S.V. Epidemiological Contribution to the Study of Work Stress. In C.L. Cooper and R.L. Payne (Eds.) Stress at Work. (New York, Wiley, 1978).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Katz, D. and R.L. Kahn. The Social Psychology of Organizations, 2 Edition. ( New York, Wiley, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Caplan, R.D. et al. Job Demands and Worker Health: Main Effects and Occupational Differences. Washington D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    van Bastelaer, A. and W. van Beers. Vragenlijst Organisatie-Stress, Testhandleiding deel 2: Konstruktie en Normering. (Nijmegen, Katholieke Universiteit, publ. 24, 1980 ).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Reiche, M. and N. van Dijkhuizen. Vragenlijst Organ-isatie-Stress. Testhandleiding deel 1, Testafname. (Nijmegen, Katholieke Universiteit, publ. 23, 1980 ).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    de Wolff, C.J. et al. Werk en Gezondheid. (Nijmegen, Report prepared for WRR, 1981).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lawrence, W.G. et al. Physical and Psychological Stress at Work. ( Dublin, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 1981 ).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Reiche, M. and N. van Dijkhuizen. Bedrij fsgrootte, Hierarchie en Persoonlijkheid, Beinvloeden zij het Ervaren van Stressoren en Strains? Gedrag 7 (1979) 58 - 75.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    van Bastelaer, A. and W. van Beers. Stress and Some Public Background Variables: An Analysis of Variance on Replicated Data. (1981) Unpublished paper.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    van Bastelaer, A. Onderzoek Naar Stress Bij Personeelsfunktionarissen. (1980) Unpublished paper.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Reiche, M. Stress Aan Het Werk. (Nijmegen, Katholieke Universiteit, 1981).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    van Dijkhuizen, N. From Stressors to Strains. (Lisse, Swets and Zeitlinger, 1980).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Gore, S. The Influence of Social Support in Ameliorating the Consequences of Job Loss. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1973.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Frankenhaueser, M. Psychobiological Effects of Life Stress. In S. Levine and H. Ursin (Eds.) Coping and Health. (New York, Plenum, 1980).Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Selye, H. The Stress of Life. (New York, McGraw Hill, 1956).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles J. de Wolff
    • 1
  1. 1.Workgroup on Psychology of Work and OrganizationUniversity of NijmegenNijmegenthe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations