Augustine Ebiai
Department of Psychology, Covenant University, Ota


The paper aimed at finding out if certain occupations are more stressful than others, if there is any difference between organisations in terms of workers Psychophysiologic disorder and if there is a relationship between stress, health and job satisfaction. The participants in the study were 100 randomly selected organizational workers in South Western Nigeria, ranging between the ages of 25 and 55 years. The Life Experience Survey (LES) test, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (JSQ) were administered to the participants. The result from the ANOVA test to find out the difference between Bank workers, Police Officers, Health Personnel, Academic Persons and Civil Servants showed there is no difference in their stress levels at F(4,95)=1.15 at P=0.05 level of significance. ANOVA test performed in finding out if there is a significant difference between the above five organisation in terms of Psychophysiologic symptoms, results a significant difference in the mean which gave F(4,95) = 2.71 which is significant at P=0.01 and P=0.05 level. The Pearson ® computation to find out the relationship between the five organisations on Life Event Experience stress, general health and job satisfaction found that there is significant relationship between the five organisations at 0.05 levels. The paper recommends that public and private organisations should endeavour to make the physical environment in organizations better for workers productivity.

Keywords: Stress, disorder, psycho-physiologic, job, satisfaction



Occupational stress has become one of the major influences on the health, daily living and well-being of industrial and organizational workers. Work is an essential part of our lives and there are people who find real satisfaction in their work, however there are individual’s who are susceptible to workplace stress. Numerous studies have explored the causes of occupational stress these include, (Lindon, 2000; Egwunyenga and Egbule, 2002). Though family conflict can affect job characteristics (Butler, Gizywacs; Bass, Linney, 2005; Ezeilo, Uzoka, 1995)). Nonetheless, it is a long accepted fact that the workplace is a major source of socio-psychological stressor such as aggression or hostility (Forshaw, 2002), Strains (Slaven, 2002; Bridger Kilminster and Slaven, 2007) and subsequently ill health (Norton 2000; Sternberg, 2000; Stansfeld, Head and Marmot; 2000). However, there are different factors that plays role with an individual suffering from stress in their job situation. For example all stressors, whether psychological (e.g. dismay at the loss of one’s job) or physical (e.g. long term exposure or cold) produce a similar core pattern of physiological changes, however it is chronic psychological stress (e.g. in the form of chronic fear) that has been most frequently implicated in ill health (Kiecolt-Galsser, McGuirre, Robbies, Glasser; 2000. Krantz and McCeney, 2002; Natelson 2004) or in the form of release of glucocorticoide from the adrenal cortex thereby producing effects of stress responses (Erickson, Drevets and Schulkin, 2003, Korte 2001). The level of circulating glucorcociodes is most commonly physiological measures of stress which Selye (1956) propounded. The immune system however acts as barriers to stress. (Matzinger, 2002; Medzhitov and Janeway, 2002; Bancheream, 2002). Nonetheless stress skill has some effect on the immune function (Seggerstrom and Miller, 2004) thereby endangering performance especially amongst Nigerian workers. (Egwunyenga and Egbule, 2002; Omoluabi, 1995; Ebiai, 2003; 2006; Uzoka, 1995; Nweze, 1984; Ezeilo, 1995; Ifegwazi, 2006).


Statement of problem
Occupational demands can be highly stressful and many jobs make severe demands in terms of responsibility, time, and performance (Nweze, 1995; Wright, 2008). Studies have shown that some occupation such as the military, (Limbert, 2004) air flight crew (Cho, Ennaceur, Cole and Suh, 2000) apparently place the individual widen and unusually high degree of stress which result in vulnerability to heart disease. Most other studies on occupational stress and work have focused attention on white-collar jobs, (Cooper French and Caplan, 1972). The police (Collins & Gibbs, 2003; Nweze 1984) others have focused on entrepreneurial culture and stress causing substantial personal cost to many individuals (Cooper and Cartwright, 1994) and loss of ones job (Pinel, 2007). Many other studies have shown that major emergencies in industrial environment such as fire disaster (McLead, 2000) has contribution to stress and dissatisfaction. In Nigerian, studies have shown that explosions, oil spills, accidents and bomb attack can also contribute to stress (Ogundele 2004; Ogunsola and Ogundele, 2001) Health professionals e.g. Physicians, dentists, nurses and health technologists) have been found to have higher than expected rates of suicide (Guralinick, 1963).
While this various approaches maybe useful and significant, however, studies on stress in Nigeria have failed to look at differences of stress level among industrial-Organisation workers in different occupations. Researches in United States and Europe have focused on occupational linked stressors especially people working in the emergency services such as police, fire, ambulance, emergency medical team and mountain rescue, Gross (2005). For example, McLeod (2000) studied over 800 firefighters, giving them a number of standard measures of stress and coping. They found that individual’s roles experience varying patterns of stress, and cope in different ways, for example, the highest overall stress levels were found among the day duty firefighters who live close to the station and are frequently on call. In Nigeria, certain workplaces have no respect for mental health and even when they try to assist, the cost to employees in the industry is high which affects low income earners. Noise in the Nigeria workplace especially in big cities like Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, Enugu, Ibadan,  and Warri affects, and accumulates into stress. Again, traffic in these cities, dirts on the highways, and sometimes encounters with Road Safety Officials, Policemen, and traffic wardens affects the mental health of workers. The present paper is to investigate the differences in stress level amongst workers in different occupation in the southwest region of Nigeria.

Attitude towards workplace stress
The United States National Health Interview Survey showed that 75% of the general population reported experiencing at least some stress in two weeks preceding the survey. About one half of the respondents reported “a lot” or moderate amount of stress during the period of the survey (Silverman, Eichler and Williams, 1987).  Researchers in Sweden showed that workers viewed their work as often “stressful” or reported moderate to high levels of stress at work. In a nationwide Canadian study (Canadian Mental Health Association, 1984), 60% of the workers studies reported they had experienced “negative Stress” at work within the previous year and 35% reported adverse psychological effects. Only 11% reported adverse physical effects. Jones, Huxtable, Hodgson, and Price (2003) studies, reported that half a million people in the U.K believe they are suffering from work related stress, depression of anxiety.  The authors also reported that 13.4 million working days were lost in the UK due to stress, depression and anxiety. Smith, Wadsworth and Johal (2000) estimated that five million people in the UK feel “very” or “extremely” stressed by their work.


Stress, occupational stress, and job satisfaction       
Stress: Caubridge (2002) defines stress as great worry caused by difficult situation or something that causes the situation. Stress is defined as a non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it, which results in symptoms such as rise in the blood pressure, release of hormones, quickness of breath, tightening of muscles, perspiration and increased cardiac activity.  Allen (2002) notes that one cannot eliminate challenging circumstances in life and work, what can be improved upon is one deals with them and how much stress one willing to allow and endure. Stress is not necessarily negative. Some stress keeps us motivated and alert, while too little stress can create problems. However, too much stress can trigger problems with mental and physical health, particularly over a prolonged period of time.

Fear is a special kind of stress experienced before or during an event that causes the same charge in a person’s physiology. Anxiety is the fear of something which has not happened yet or which may never happen. Occupational stress can be defined as the harmful and emotional response that occurs when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the workers. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury. Long-term exposure to occupational stress has been linked to an increased risk of ‘musculoskeletal disorder’, “depression and job” “burnout and may contribute to a range of debilitating disease-ranging from “cardiovascular disease” to “cancer stressful” working conditions may also interfere with an employee’s ability to work safely, contributing to work injuries and illnesses. In the workplace of the 1990s, the most highly ranked and frequently reported organisational stressors are potential job loss technological advances and ineffective top management. At the work unit level, work overload, poor supervision and inadequate training are the top-ranking stressors.
Marzabardi and Tarkhorani (2007) defined job satisfaction as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job, an affective reactions to one’s job, and an attitude towards one’s job. Weiss (2002) has argued that job satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation, which affects (emotion) beliefs and behaviours. Job satisfaction is a judgement we make about how favourable our work environment.

Purpose of the study
The purpose of the paper is to explore the causes of occupational Stress and the effect on Organisational performance and to access the differences in some particular type of jobs.
Specifically, the objectives are: To find out if certain occupations are more stressful than others. To ascertain if there is any difference between organisations in terms of workers psycho physiologic disorder. To access the effect of occupational stress on the general health of workers. To find out if there is any relationship between occupational stress and satisfaction.

Research questions:
 Will there be any difference in terms amount of strains and stresses between one type of occupation and another type? Would there be a significant difference between organisation in terms of psycho physiologic disorder. Can there be any effect of occupational stress on the general health of worker in Nigerian workplace. Can there be any relationship between occupational stress and job satisfaction in Nigeria industrial organisation.
Hi        Workers in some occupations may significantly be more stressful than other.
Hi        There will be a significant difference between different organisation in psycho physiologic disorder.
Hi        There will be a significant relationship between occupational stress and the general health of workers in Nigeria workplace.
Hi        There will be a relationship between occupational stress and job satisfaction among Nigeria workers.


Significance of the study
The paper is significant because the health of Nigeria workers is very important for them to put in their best in the workplace. Many organisational management are spending more, when workers are dissatisfied in their work place due to stress. Because they may need to spend more to recruit other workers. There is also the need for organisations to know the differences between stress levels in different occupations so that they will know which occupation need to be more compensated.
Theoretical framework
Coleman (1973) identified three basic forces; pressure; conflict and frustration as emotional stress processes. The present paper is leaning onto this model for the causes of occupational stress. Pressure comes with environmental demands especially with regard to time (Ogundele, 2006) high work load and perfectionism (Marzabadi and Tarkhorani, 2007) frustration such as low work control; low employee participation in decision making, boring and repetitive work, lack of training lack of meaningfulness or knowledge of how the individual contributes to the Organisation goals and then conflict stress such as depression and aggression, especially in union grievances and mistrust. Conflict arises because of competing alternatives which require us to make the right choice and decisions. Frustration is imposed because of our inability to meet the objectives or achieve the goals. Under a stressful situation, conflict arises between the demands being made by our Industrial Organisation workplace and our individual ability as a worker to meet the challenge of work or no work, or conflict before us. It is this discrepancy that reacts to stressful feelings and subsequent responses to stress by the worker affected. This feeling usually must go through three processes. These are the psychological, physiological and behavioural. It is the psychological (feeling, judgement motivation, job dissatisfaction that informs the physiological (internal body reactions) which inturn informs the behavioural responses or action.
Literature review
Segerstrom and Miller (2004) meta-analysis of 300 empirical studies on the relationship between stress and the immune function in humans showed that stress have some effect on immune function, however, depending on the kind of stress for example experiencing unemployment adversely affects complex immune system processes. This study is similar to Ben-Ehiyahu, Shakhar, Page, Stefanski and Shakher (2000) and Quan, Avitsur, Stark, He, Shah and Caligiuri (2001). Egwunyenga and Egbule (2002) on a random sample of 300 academic and non academic staff of Delta State University, Abraka, to find out job stress and  work “Burnout” among University senior staff, examined their mental and psychological well-being as well as their health status and the level of job satisfaction using a standardized Job Stress and Work “Burnout” Questionnaire (JSWBQ) shows that university senior staff are prone to a number of job stress manifested in the form of restlessness,  anxiety, feelings of frustration, occasional headache, dizziness, physical pain as well as high rate of work burnout in the form of laziness, absenteeism, reluctance in going to work, negative feelings about work deferment of scheduled appointments and feeling of discouragement about taking a career in the university system. Cooper and Crump (1978) studied occupational stress amongst general practice dentist. In their investigation, they found that time and scheduling demands as well as negative patient perceptions were consistent indications of mental ill health across both male and female dentists.

Keenan and Newton (1987) focused attention on work difficulties and stress in young professional engineers and reported that role stress environmental frustration, engineering field and perception of quality of training were relaxed to people’s work difficulties. Douglas, Cook, Royer, Hendrickson, Dove and David (2008) study to evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based multimedia health promotion program for the workplace, designed to help reduce stress and to prevent depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, utilized a sample of 309 working adults who were randomly assigned to the web-based condition or to a wait-list control condition. All the participants were assessed on multiple self-reported outcomes at present posttest. In relation to controls, the web-based group reduced their stress, increased their knowledge of depression and anxiety, developed more positive attitudes toward treatment, and adopted a more healthy approach to alcohol consumption. The authors concluded that a brief and easily adaptable web-based stress management program can simultaneously reduce worker stress and address stigmatized behavioural health problems by embedding this prevention material into a more positive stress management framework. Wu, Zhu, Li, Wang and Wang (2007) research on the relationship between job burnout and occupational stress among doctors in China found out with 543 doctors from three provincial hospital in China using the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) was used to measure burnout, and the occupational stress inventory revised edition was used to measure the two dimensions of occupational adjustment (including occupational stress and coping resources).

 After the statistical testing for validity and reliability of MBI-GS with nurses in China, the participants’ scores were evaluated and analysed. The main results were follows. The scores of job burnout of the surgeon and physician were significantly higher than the others (p< 0.05). The scores of exhaustion (EX) was significantly higher in the 30-to 40-year age group than that in any other groups. The score of professional efficacy (PE) decreased with age, while this increased with educational status. Occupational stress was significantly positively related to all burnout dimensions (p<0.05), while coping resources correlated negatively to all burnout dimensions. Under multilevel regression, the main significant predictors of EX were role overload, responsibility, physical environment and self-care. The main significant predictors of cynicism were role insufficiency, role overload and responsibility, and of PE were role insufficiency, social support and rational/cognitive coping (p<0.05). Organisational efforts aimed at reducing occupational stress and strengthening their coping resources among doctors was recommended for preventing job burnout. Marzabadi and Tarkhorani (2007) listed the different kinds of stress and individuals were being questioned in the different stress categories. The stress categories were related to roles at work, the physical environment, responsibilities, family, work, and work and family. The different stress levels that were taken ranged from no stress to low stress, intermediate stress and high stress. The results were then categorized in average and standard deviation, in order to simplify the results. Among the roles at work, the role conflict had the  highest results of about 35.54. The next highest stress level among the roles was role ambiguity, which got an average of about 31.81. Role overload and role insufficiency both got an average of about 29.25 and 28.96. The stress caused by physical environment got an average at 20.97. The stress related to the family got an average of about 23.87 and 18.81, respectively. The standard deviation was seen to be highest in the category of work and family at 15.57, and the least deviation was reported with family stress at 4.37. The satisfaction from preferment ranked the highest at about 20.1% and the satisfaction from work and salary and premium both were ranked at 13.4% the lowest of high satisfaction was seen from cohorts, which was at 1.2%. The satisfaction from cohorts in the intermediate satisfaction category was seen at the highest level with 88.4%. The satisfaction from work and chief in the intermediate satisfaction category were ranked at the second and third place with 86% and 84.8%, respectively.

The lowest level of satisfaction was from preferment in the intermediate category with 16.6%. On mental health, anxiety, social dysfunction and depression, there were 22% of the individuals who were tending to have problems of mental health; 2.4% suffering from anxiety, 2.4% suffering from social dysfunction and 1.2 were suffering from depression. The authors found a significant and negative relation between total satisfaction and mental health (p = 0.301). Kivimaki, Leino-Arjas, Luukkonen, Riihimaki, Vahtera and Kirjonen (2002) study on work stress and risk of cardiovascular mortality among industrial employees in Finland found out that amongst the 812 employees; men = 545 and women = 267 who were initially without any pain but went into different demands of work with a mean length of follow up was 25.6 years. After adjustment for age and sex, employees with high job strain, a combination of high demands at work and low job control, had a 2.2-fold (95% confidence interval 1.2 to 4.2) cardiovascular mortality risk compared with their colleagues with low job strain. The corresponding risk ratio for employees with effort-reward imbalance (low salary, lack of social approval, and few career opportunities relative to efforts required at work) was 2.4 (1.3 to 4.4). Theses ratios remained significant after additional adjustment for occupational group and biological and behavioural risks at baseline. High job strain was associated with increased serum total cholesterol at the 5 years follow up. Imbalance predicted increased body mass index at the 10 years follow up. The conclusion from the study is that high job strain and effort-reward imbalance seems to increase the risk of cardiovascular mortality. The evidence from industrial employees suggests that attention should be paid to the prevention of work stress.

Participants are one hundred randomly selected organisational workers aged between 25 and 55 years. All participants are resident in southwest geo-political region of Nigeria and have been working in some academic institution, health institution, manufacturing industries, financial institutions and military and paramilitary organisation. All participants have been working in their various organisation 12 months before the research was conducted. The workers range within the ranks of junior workers, supervisors and senior ranks or management as the care maybe.

The life experience survey (LES) was utilized. This test was adapted from Sarason (1978) who leaned onto Holmes and Rahe (1967) original Life Events Inventory (LEI). The tests have been found to predict stress very well (Sarason, 1978). A test and retest reliability was performed using 34 and 58 participants and the general coefficient of change was observed to be 0.63 and 0.64 using the Pearson product moment statistics of p = 0.001 (Sarason 1978)

The general health questionnaire (GHQ): The General Health Questionnaire was first developed by Goldberg (1972) as an instrument to compensate for what Goldberg conceived as the weakness of the Cornel Medical Index (CMI) as a diagnostic instrument to detect psychosomatic and psychiatric illness. According to Goldberg (1972), a score of twelve or more (12+) signifies ill health. The reliability of the instrument has been found to be 81.6% (i.e. 0.816) for the Western population (Goldberg, 1972) and 91.5% (i.e. 0.915) for African population (Morakinyo, 1979).

All stressors, whether psychological e.g. dismay at the loss of one’s job or physical (e.g. long term exposure or cold) produce a similar core pattern of physiological changes, however it chronic psychological stress (e.g. in the form of chronic fear) that has been most frequently implicated in ill health (Kiecolt-Galsser, McGuirre, Robbies, Glasser, 2000; Krantz and McCeney, 2002; Natelson 2004) or in the form of release of glucocorticode from the adrenal cortex thereby producing effects of stress responses (Erickson, Drevets and Schulkin, 2003; Korte 2001). The level of circulating glucorcociodes is most commonly physiological measures of stress which Selye (1956). The immune system however acts as barriers to stress.  (Matzinger, 2002; Medzhitor and Janeway, 2002; Banchereau, 2002). Nonetheless stress skill has some effect on the immune function (Seggerstrom and Miller, 2004).

Job satisfaction questionnaire (JSQ): The Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (JSQ) was developed by the author. The Questions have been tested by McIntyre (1966), “Math Game” to test satisfaction of Industrial Workers. The Questions include How satisfied were you with your job to how productive do you feel, and what do you like about your job? And what did you dislike? The Questions in the JSQ were also rated in a Likert Scale from very dissatisfied which is rated (I) to very satisfied which is rated (7). On the productive side, the Likert measure was also used to rate productivity from very unproductive to very productive.

The first two psychometric instruments, the life events experience survey (LES) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) were issued to the participants to complete simultaneously. The last test material is the job satisfaction was scored on a later date. Participants score on life experience survey (LES) was grouped into two. The total of the participants’ negative score and the total of participant positive score on life stress. The scores were recorded on the psychometric instrument of the particular participant involved. Participants score on the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) was the addition of the participant score on the instrument.  The job satisfaction questionnaire was administered to the participants and was scored on the Likert System.
The scores were finally extracted based on the hypothesis to be tested.

On the hypothesis that some occupations may significantly be more stressful than occupation, the analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted. The following mean observations were noted.

Group I:                       Bank Workers                          : - 13.45
Group II:                      Police Officers             : - 35.15
Group III:                    Health Personnel                      : - 19.45
Group IV:                    Academic Person                     : - 20.75
Group V:                     Civil Servants                          : - 21.8

An analysis of variance performed on these means gave F(4,95) = (1.15065353), which is not significant at point 0.05 level.



Table 1:  One-way ANOVA summary table for life experience stress among the five organisation.






Between Group





Within Group










Not significant at p 0.05.

On the hypothesis on relationship between organisation life invents experience stress and general health and on the third hypothesis on the occupation life invents experience stress and job satisfaction. The Pearson product moment correlation coefficient (r) was conducted and was statistically significant at 0.05.
The second hypothesis was tested to find out if there is a significant difference between the five organisations in terms of their psycho physiologic system. The following mean observations were noted.

Group I:                        Bank Workers             76.9
Group II:                      Police officers                        105.4
Group III:                    Health Personnel                     96.05
Group IV:                    Academic Person                    89.05
Group V:                     Civil Servants                         102.45

The ANOVA performed on these means gave F(4,95) = 2.70503523 which is significant at point 0.05 level.

Table 2           






Between Group





Within Group










The result is significant at P .01 and at P. 05.

Table 3

Occupational Life invent Stress

General Health

Job Satisfaction










The variables are all statistically significant at 0.05 one tail and 0.05 two tail test.


Government and private organisations management should endeavour to make the physical environment in organisation better for the workers for productivity. Relaxation centres should be built at strategic places so that workers can have their leisure time. The salaries of workers should be adequate. Organisational management should make the role of each worker clear to him so that there will be no role conflict. Management should endeavour to reduce workload and increase work load when there is need.

The present paper has come to the conclusion that there is a relationship between occupational stress and health and occupational stress and job satisfaction. It is pertinent to note that occupational stress and ill health plays a significant role in making workers in organisation to be dissatisfied with their work.

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