Most men and women spend a major part of their lifetime at work. Although their immediate reason for working is usually to earn their daily living, many have further aspirations for their careers. These may concern content of the job, satisfaction with and gratification from the job, career achievement, and personal development. Failure of fulfilling any of these goals on the job may lead to feelings of chronic stress.
In work-related theory, a job is characterized as stressful when it is high in psychological demand and low in personal control. Demand has been defined as an intense work pace, and control has been defined as the combination of authority over decisions and opportunities to develop personal skills. Demands may be healthy as long as one can say yes or no to them. If authority over decisions and opportunities for skills development are insufficient, chronic adaptation to a job strain situation may lead to illness.1 Job strain is present when demand is too high and control is too low.
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