Work related stress - Research and statistics
Key HSE research publications on stress can be accessed via this page. Reports are listed in chronological order. For information on research projects currently underway, please contact us.
Statistical information is available from HSE's stress statistics page. This includes reports from the annual Psychosocial Working Conditions surveys 2004-07, in addition to further detail on stress incidence, prevalence and resultant working days lost, taken from the annual Labour Force Survey.
HSE Management Standards and stress-related work outcomes
Paper produced to assess the impact of the Management Standards on work related stress outcomes. Produced for and published by the Society of Occupational Medicine. The research paper aimed to investigate the relationship between the HSE MS and the following stress-related work outcomes: 'job satisfaction', job-related anxiety and depression and errors/near misses.
A summary of the evidence
These two papers describe the evidence behind our approach to tackling stress and the development and validation of the Management Standards.
Both of these reports have also been published in the international journal Work and Stress 2004, vol. 18, no.2
A summary of the evidence of the need to evaluate line management competency
Research has shown that one of the major causes of work related stress is the impact of managers and their skills to manage staff and stress in the work place. The following reports describe the evidence behind the creation of tools that help managers to evaluate their skills and identify whether their behaviours promote stress or help to minimise and resolve stress:
Workplace interventions for people with common mental health problems
This systematic review is designed to provide evidence-based answers on key questions related to mental ill health in the workplace. It is intended to assist managers, occupational health professionals and other interested parties in making management decisions and offering advice.
Attitudes, opinions and experiences of attendees at the ISMAUK stress workshops 2004
This report summarises the results of telephone research undertaken on behalf of the Health & Safety Executive between 10 June and 24 June 2005, involving attendees at workshops organised by the International Stress Management Association UK during November and December 2004 to introduce HSE's new Management Standards for work related stress.
HSE contract research reports on work related stress
Those who want more detail may be interested in the following set of full research reports.
- Case study: Establishing the business case for investing in stress prevention
activities and evaluating their impact on sickness absence levels
This case study outlines the business benefits attained by Somerset County Council from undertaking a process of stress
risk assessment and intervention.
- Psychosocial risk factors in call centres: An evaluation of work design and
This research suggests that working as a call hander is more stressful than many other jobs. It outlines the key stressors
present in call-centre environments, and proposes measures to eliminate or reduce the impact of these stressors.
- Beacons of Excellence in Stress Prevention
The report outlines criteria for best practice in stress prevention. These criteria were used to identify organisations
that could be considered examples of best practice in various aspects of stress prevention.
- Best Practice in Rehabiliting Employees Following Absence due to work related stress
The report provides examples of how to encourage employees to return to work and to prevent a reoccurrence of their
initial stress. The case studies in this report cover England, Scotland and Wales, and some specific advice for small
and medium sized companies.
- The Whitehall II Study: Work, environment, alcohol consumption and
This report demonstrates the links between psychosocial risk factors and subsequent ill health. The findings are based
on the longitudinal Whitehall II study of 10,000 British Civil Servants.
- Review of existing supporting scientific knowledge to underpin standards of
good practice for key work related stressors: phase 1
This report has informed the development of HSE's draft Management Standards for stress by identifying evidence
that explains the mechanisms by which workplace factors (such as poorly designed/managed workload, lack of appropriate
support) lead to stress.
- Interventions to control stress at work in hospital staff
This Report provides examples of how sources of work stress were identified and managed in a number of hospital settings.
The evidence from these case studies demonstrates that that risk management can be a powerful tool for dealing with
sources of work stress.
- Effective teamworking: reducing the psychosocial risks
This report proposes a model for understanding team working and its impact on employee mental health.
- The scale of occupational stress - The Bristol Health at Work study [PDF, 6.3MB]
- The scale of occupational stress - A further analysis
The "Bristol study" and its follow-up work have provided important indications of the scale of the problem
of work related stress in the UK and have informed the development of the draft Management Standards.
- Organisational interventions for wowrk stress - A risk management approach
This report presents a risk management approach to the reduction of work stress, describing its origins, strategies,
processes and procedures. It illustrates these through six organisational case studies.
To access all of HSE's research reports
search the research site.