Short Term Effects
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), early warning signs of job stress include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Short temper
- Job dissatisfaction
- Low morale
These symptoms interfere with an employee's sense of well-being and can result in poor health behaviors. However, they are not likely to jeopardize long-term health if stressful conditions are not sustained over a long period of time.
Long Term Effects
Chronic, sustained exposure to stressful working conditions can result in a variety of long term health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Psychological disorders
- Workplace injury
Decades of international research has demonstrated that chronic job stress contributes to cardiovascular disease (CVD) through several mechanisms.
- Job stress directly affects physiological processes that increase the risk for CVD:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Weakened immune response
- High cortisol
- Changes in appetite and digestive patterns
- Job stress contributes to behavior changes that increase the risk for CVD:
- Low physical activity levels
- Excessive coffee consumption
- Poor dietary habits
- Job stress contributes to the development of mental health conditions that independently increase the risk for a range of chronic health conditions.
For a diagram on long term health effects, go to long-term health effects of job stress.
Test Your Stress Smarts
Take this short quiz on stress and health: Stress Smarts.