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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Dori B. Reissman, MD, MPH (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Description: This new book on occupational stress is written from a practical perspective by an interesting blend of Western European experts. Chapter one examines cause and effect aspects of stress in the workplace, while chapter two discusses coping and workplace health promotion. The contributors then explore legal implications, trade union perspectives, and stress reactions. The book concludes with a pragmatic chapter devoted to workplace stress surveys and educational presentations.
Purpose: The book serves as a good introduction to the complex problem of workplace stress and incorporates useful practical tips for policy development and worker education.
Audience: It is most useful for medical and business professionals who must be responsive to workers' needs.
Features: Although this book has been written within a Western European context, it has many parallels with American business issues and multinational corporate concerns. Occupational stress is presented as a health and safety issue driven by legislative efforts in Western Europe. The influence of private-public partnering is presented through political history lessons.
Assessment: The key concepts are referenced as European documents and do not generally include the popular American publications or theorists. Given the complexity of the field, the book would benefit from a foundation developed through a more cohesive discussion of the relevant theories before embarking on solutions. Occasionally the authors have intermingled interventions with identification of the problem, creating some problems with flow. Some of the diagrams in the early chapters are not fully explained in the text. In attempting to reach a broad audience, the text has some inconsistency with levels of sophistication. Two more clinically relevant texts include Psychiatric Consultation in the Workplace, by Len Sperry (1993), and Mental Health in the Workplace: A Practical Psychiatric Guide, edited by Jeffrey Kahn (1993). The psychological research perspective is reviewed in Job Stress Interventions, edited by Murphy, Hurrell, Sauter, and Keita (1995).