Anyone who has ever had a job has probably experienced work-related stress at some point or another. For many workers, however, job-related stress is experienced every day and reaches more extreme levels. Four in ten American workers say that their jobs are "very" or "extremely" stressful. Job stress is recognized as an epidemic in the workplace, and its economic and health care costs are staggering: by some estimates over $ 1 billion per year in lost productivity, absenteeism and worker turnover, and at least that much in treating its health effects, ranging from anxiety and psychological depression to cardiovascular disease and hypertension.Why are so many American workers so stressed out by their jobs? Many psychologists say stress is the result of a mismatch between the characteristics of a job and the personality of the worker. Many management consultants propose reducing stress by "redesigning" jobs and developing better individual strategies for "coping" with their stress. But, these explanations are not the whole story. They don't explain why some jobs and some occupations are more stressful than other jobs and occupations, regardless of the personalities and "coping strategies" of individual workers. Why do auto assembly line workers and air traffic controllers report more job stress than university professors, self-employed business owners, or corporate managers (yes, managers!)? The authors of Work and Mental Health in Social Context take a different approach to understanding the causes of job stress. Job stress is systematically created by the characteristics of the jobs themselves: by the workers' occupation, the organizations in which they work, their placements in different labor markets, and by broader social, economic and institutional structures, processes and events. And disparities in job stress are systematically von Tausig, Mark und Fenwick, Rudy
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