Do managers experience more stress than employees? Results from the Intervention Project on Absence and Well-being (IPAW) study among Danish managers and their employees.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Janne Skakon, Tage S. Kristensen, Karl Bang Christensen, Thomas Lund, Merete Labriola

Aim: To examine whether managers’ perceived stress and work strain is higher than perceived stress and work strain among employees.
Methods: The study is based on questionnaire responses from 2052 respondents (128 managers and 1924 employees) at 48 worksites. Bi-variate and multivariate analyses were used to explain possible differences in stress levels and related mediators.
Results: Managers experienced higher demands, higher level of conflicts, and lower degree of social support from peers. They tended to experience significantly lower emotional stress, whereas this trend was non-significant with regards to behavioural, somatic and cognitive stress.
The difference was partly explained by higher scores in the psychosocial work environment factors; job satisfaction, perceived management quality from their managers, influence, degrees of freedom at work, possibilities for development and meaning of work. For behavioural stress, 41% of the difference was explained by the preventive factors, 20% for somatic stress, 39% for emotional stress and 56 % for cognitive stress.
Discussion: This study indicates that the preventive psychosocial factors explain parts of the managers’ lower stress level. These results contradict the lay perception of managers being under higher pressure and experiencing more stress than employees. Interventions aiming at reducing employee stress levels, especially regarding behavioural and cognitive stress, could benefit from focussing on psychosocial work environment exposures such as skill discretion, meaning of work, psychological demands, information flow and management quality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWork: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation
Volume38
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
ISSN1051-9815
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011

ID: 32473886