THE GW4 PUP COMMUNITY: PERFORMANCE UNDER PRESSURE UNDERSTANDING OCCUPATIONAL STRESS: PERFORMANCE, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING IN HIGH PRESSURE ENVIRONMENTS

INITIATOR FUND 

Project period: January – March 2018 

GW4 community leads 
University of Bath: Rachel Arnold (PI) 
University of Bristol:  Peter Turnbull 
Cardiff University: Andy Smith 
University of Exeter: Sam Vine 

Project overview 

The proposed community intends to deliver a step-change in research on occupational stress, by bringing together academic experts who can tackle the health, well-being, and productivity challenges in performance domains, produce world-leading, interdisciplinary research. 

Website: gw4occstress.com

Background 

Occupational stress has been identified by the WHO as a 21st century global health epidemic, given its links to 7/10 leading causes of death. Stress can also have acute performance and productivity effects; a study of 15,000+ workers found 28% report that occupational stress affects work performance. Occupational stress also accounts for 37% of work-related ill-health, 45% of lost working days, and an estimated cost of 10% of GNP. 

HSE report that jobs which show the highest stress are those required to perform under high pressure. For employees within these performance domains, performance is critical yet difficult to maintain often with high stakes involved. Example domains include sport, performing arts, business, and high-risk professions. Across these, work stress encountered can, paradoxically, be the “kiss of death” or the “spice of life”; since successful adaptation can enable individuals and organizations to flourish. 

Project summary 

The proposed community intends to deliver a step-change in research on occupational stress, by bringing together academic experts who can tackle the aforementioned health, well-being, and productivity challenges in performance domains, produce world-leading, interdisciplinary research, and apply collaboratively for grants (e.g., ESRC/Leverhulme/Horizon 2020). The research, made possible by the collaboration proposed, will: 

  • Build on existing knowledge on the occupational stressors and the impacts they can have, longitudinally, in performance domains;
  • Further understand the underpinning psychophysiological mechanisms of the impacts of stress;
  • Work with organizations (with whom we have established relationships) to implement an intervention that mitigates the effects of stress for the promotion of optimal performance, productivity, health, and well-being (with potential for future commercial product development).

Community site (GW4 Portal)