Workplace Stressors


Potentially, there are many interpretations of the terms Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS), Stressors and Stress.

Definitions (not medical diagnosis):
Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) - muscle or tissue damage characterized by discomfort and persistent pain in muscles, tendons and soft tissue in the upper body.

Workplace Stressors - demands from the environment, such as work-role demands and work pace, and perceptions of the environment, such as job control, job boredom and job ambiguity.

Occupational stress - a form of strain, a state of negative emotions and arousal experienced in relation to the work role.

Psychological distress - psychological ill-health involving a clinical condition with sustained symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Occupational Overuse Syndrome symptoms are influenced by multiple factors.  Symptom development supports a complex model that includes physical work role demands, workplace culture, personality, and health behaviors.

Occupational stress does not predict Occupational Overuse Syndrome symptoms.

Symptoms were reported with high demands for physically repetitive work, computer use, reportedly poor ergonomic equipment, and an adversarial workplace culture (low supervisor support, low occupational health support, job insecurity, ambiguity and job boredom).

Occupational Overuse Syndrome symptoms are higher in Type A personality characteristics are also linked to workplace management concerns (rewarding competitive, hard driving work behavior where employees are expected to meet deadlines they find hard to keep and to work extra or long hours).  Type A behavior, an external locus of control and the experience of goal loss (the perception that valued life goals, including career goals, cannot be attained), predicted higher distress levels.

Occupational Overuse Syndrome symptoms are higher for younger individuals, for non-English speaking backgrounds, women, and lower levels of health behaviors (Health behaviors such as poor exercise and lack of relaxation).  Consider link for women’s lack of leisure time and domestic work responsibilities.
Perceived high occupational stress was best predictor of the psychological distress and concerns about an adversarial workplace culture

Intervention that include regularly relaxing and exercising reduced levels of occupational stress and psychological distress.

Occupational Overuse Syndrome Stressors and the Workplace Report.  Comcare.  Sydney, Australia, Australia Government 1-11, 1998.  Reference ID: 6604