Cristina Rizzi, Franco Fraccaroli, Christian Balducci

Measuring the work related stress: physiological approaches

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Keywords: Work Related Stress; Biomarkers; Physiological Parameters; Psychosocial Risks; Organizational Behaviour.

The aim of this paper is to describe the connections between psychophysiology and organizational behaviour in regard to work-related stress. The paper reports surveys and research which consider the biomarkers and physiological parameters involved in the experience of work-related stress. Given that the concept of stress is closely bound up with bodily responses, the study of work stress can benefit if physiological measures are considered as well, the purpose being to extend organizational theories and heighten the precision of organizational research (Akinola, 2010). The recent technical improvement of the procedures and tools which investigate physiological reactivity to stress requires attention to be paid to their possible application in research designs, the assessment of psycho-social risks, the management of organizational interventions, and the monitoring of employee health (Ganster and Rosen, 2013). The survey highlights the predominance of an integrative perspective based on a multi-method approach. We tried to discuss limits, disadvantages and advantages of measures and techniques, highlighting some critical and innovative ones. Finally we describe the advantage of a possible strategic alliance between the psychologist and the occupational physician in order to improve the quality of research, assessment of work-related stress and health surveillance of workers.

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