Occupational stress has been identified by the WHO as a 21st century global health epidemic, given its links to 7/10 leading causes of death. Stress can also have acute performance and productivity effects; a study of 15,000+ workers found 28% report that occupational stress affects work performance. Occupational stress also accounts for 37% of work-related ill-health, 45% of lost working days, and an estimated cost of 10% of GNP. HSE report that jobs, which show the highest stress, are those required to perform under high pressure. For employees within these performance domains, performance is critical yet difficult to maintain often with high stakes involved. Example domains include sport, performing arts, business, military, emergency services, aviation, healthcare, and education. Across these, work stress encountered can, paradoxically, be the “kiss of death” or the “spice of life”; since successful adaptation can enable individuals and organisations to thrive.

Our GW4 community is hosted by the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, and Cardiff. The overall aim of the community is to deliver a step-change in research on occupational stress. We aim to bring together academic and industry experts who can tackle the aforementioned occupational stress-induced productivity, health, and well-being challenges faced in high-pressure environments.

As a community, we offer expertise through the following five areas. Find out more about these areas on our Research page:

  • The multi-method measurement of stress
  • The full temporal experience of stress (e.g., acute to chronic)
  • Organisational vs individual antecedents and explanations of stress
  • Thriving and flourishing in high-pressure environments
  • Stress management (e.g., primary, secondary, and tertiary stress management interventions)