Thursday, 6 December 2012

OUGD504 // Design for Print & Web // Stress Facts & Stats

What is the issue?
A sharp rise in hospital admissions for stress over the last year was widely covered in the papers today, with The Independent linking the increase to the recession and the Daily Mail pointing out that more men were treated in hospital for stress than women.
The reports are based on figures showing that, in England, hospital admissions for stress rose by 7% in 12 months, with admission rates highest among people of working age.
Admissions were highest in North West England and lowest in South West England. This geographical variation may be due to differing levels of job losses. The North West has been hit particularly hard by job losses as traditional working-class sectors of employment, such as construction and manufacturing, have taken a particularly “bad hit”.
By contrast, during the same period, admissions for anxiety fell by almost 3% in the same period. It is unclear why.

The figures for hospital admissions in England, from June 2011 to May 2012, show that:

- There were 6,366 admissions for stress, a rise of 6.8% on the previous 12-month period.

- Admissions were highest among those between the ages of 18 and 60.

- Slightly more men were admitted than women, with 54% of admissions due to stress being male.

- The highest rate of admissions was in the North West Strategic Health Authority (20 per 100,000 population), followed by London (15.9 per 100,000). The lowest rates for admissions were in the South West SHA (6.7 admissions per 100,000 population).

- The increase in admissions for stress was higher than hospital admissions overall. These increased by about 2% in the same period.

The latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show:

- The total number of cases of stress in 2011/12 was 428 000 (40%) out of a total of 1 073 000 for all work-related illnesses.

- The estimated cases of work-related stress, both total and new cases, have remained broadly flat over the past decade.

- The industries that reported the highest rates of total cases of work-related stress (three-year average) were human health and social work, education and public administration and defence

-The occupations that reported the highest rates of total cases of work-related stress (three-year average) were health professionals (in particular nurses), teaching and educational professionals, and caring personal services (in particular welfare and housing associate professionals)

-The main work activities attributed by respondents as causing their work-related stress, or making it worse, was work pressure, lack of managerial support and work-related violence and bullying

Stress at Work Stats:

- 45% of workers report that job insecurity has a significant impact on stress levels.
- 61% of workers list heavy workloads as a significant impact on stress levels.
- 25% of workers have taken a mental health day to cope with stress.
- 54% of workers are concerned about health problems due to stress.
All of the above statistics related to work stress were reported by a 2004 survey conducted by the APA.

According to a CBS Evening News fifth annual Labor Day survey, more than half of Americans are somewhat or extremely stressed at work. And a shocking one in six workers reported being "angry enough to hit a co-worker".
The Everything Stress Management Book by Eve Adamson, Avon, MA 2002
- 40% of workers report that their job is "very or extremely" stressful.
Survey by Northwestern National Life

- 25% of workers view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.
Survey by Northwestern National Live

- 26% of workers report they are "often or very often burned out or stressed by their work".
Survey by the Families and Work Institute

- 29% of workers report they feel "quite a bit or extremely stressed at work".
Survey by Yale University


- Stress has been called “the silent killer” and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, and an irregular heartbeat.

- While it is a myth that stress can turn hair gray, stress can cause hair loss. In fact, telogen effluvium (hair loss) can begin up to three months after a stressful event.

- In 2009, the top most stressful jobs were a surgeon, commercial airline pilot, photojournalist, advertising account executive, and real estate agent. The least stressful jobs were actuary, dietitian, astronomer, systems analyst, and software engineer.

- The top three stressful cities in America are Chicago, Ilinois; Los Angeles, California; and New York, New York.

- Stress alters the neurochemical makeup of the body, which can affect the maturation and release of the human egg. Stress can also cause the fallopian tubes and uterus to spasm, which can affect implantation. Stress in men can affect sperm count and motility and can cause erectile dysfunction. In fact, stress may account for 30% of all infertility problems.

- Stress can make acne worse. Researchers say stress-related inflammation rather than a rise is sebum (the oily substance in skin) is to blame.p

- Laughter is a powerful stress reducer

- Laughing lowers stress hormones (like cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline) and strengthens the immune system by releasing health-enhancing hormones.

- The stress hormone cortisol not only causes abdominal fat to accumulate, but it also enlarges individual fat cells, leading to what researchers call “diseased” fat.

- Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, liver cirrhosis, and suicide.

- The stress of caring for a disabled spouse increases the risk of stroke substantially.o
Chronic stress can impair the developmental growth in children by lowering the production of growth hormone from the pituitary gland.

- A 2009 CNN poll reveals that the number one reason for stress in most countries is money. The countries most stressed about money are Malaysia, China, Singapore, and the United States. The countries least stressed about money are Russia, France, and Italy.

- The term “stress” derives from the Latin stringere (to draw tight).

- Stress causes capillaries to close, which restricts bleeding if a flesh wound should occur.f
Pupils dilate (mydriasis) during stress much the same way they dilate in response to attraction: to gather more visual information about a situation.

- Chronic stress floods the brain with powerful hormones that are meant for short-term emergency situations. Chronic exposure can damage, shrink, and kill brain cells.

- A 2003 study found that women with moderate levels of stress were at lower risk for suicide than those women who had very high or very low levels of stress.

- Scientists suggest that stress is part of the evolutionary drive because it has enabled humans to survive. Specifically, stress temporarily increases awareness and improves physical performance.

- Stress makes the blood “stickier,” in preparation for an injury. Such a reaction, however, also increases the probability of developing a blood clot.

- Eating moderate levels of dark chocolate reduces stress hormone levels

- Research has shown that dark chocolate reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and other fight-flight hormones. Additionally, cocoa is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids.

- Chronic stress increases cytokines, which produce inflammation. Exposure to constant inflammation can damage arteries and other organs.

- Stress can alter blood sugar levels, which can cause mood swings, fatigue, hyperglycemia, and metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for heart attack and diabetes.

- Chronic stress worsens irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that irritates the large intestine and causes constipation, cramping, and bloating.

- Peptic ulcers are caused by the H.pylori bacteria or the use of NSAIDS—not stress. However, stress can exacerbate ulcers and keep them from healing.

- Chronic stress decreases the body’s immune system’s response to infection and can affect a person’s response to immunizations.

- Studies show that HIV-infected men are more likely to progress to AIDS if they are under high stress than those with lower levels of stress.

- Stress can increase the ability of chemicals to pass the blood-brain barrier, which shields neurons from some poisons, viruses, toxins, and other fluctuations in normal blood chemistry.

- Acoustic stress (caused by loud noises) can trigger an episode of Long QT Syndrome (LQTS), a disorder of the heart’s electrical system. LGTS is estimated to cause as many as 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

- Young people from military families who have a deployed parent report higher levels of stress and emotional problems than other adolescents and teens.

- Stress increases the risk of pre-term labor and intrauterine infection. Additionally, chronic levels of stress place a fetus at greater risk for developing stress-related disorders and affect the fetus’s temperament and neurobehavioral development.

- Post-traumatic stress physically changes children’s brains; specifically, stress shrinks the hippocampus, a part of the brain that stores and retrieves memories.

- Stress balls work by massaging acupuncture points in the hand

- Chinese stress balls (Baoding balls) were created during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in Baoding, China. Originally made of iron, the balls are thought to relieve stress because they touch pressure or acupuncture points on the hand.

- Stress can result in more headaches as a result of the body rerouting blood flow to other parts of the body.

- The hyper-arousal of the body’s stress response system can lead to chronic insomnia.

- An early record of post-traumatic stress syndrome dates from the eighth century B.C. in Homer’s Iliad when Achilles suffers severe battle stress in the Trojan War. Achilles complains of feeling emotionally “numb” or “dead” and expresses suicidal thoughts and rage.

- In Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Lady Percy’s description of her battle-worn husband, Harry Hotspur, is surprisingly similar to the symptoms of actual post-traumatic syndrome, such as feeling estranged from others, difficulty sleeping, exhibiting an exaggerated startle, dysphoria, and strong anxiety.

- When cells shrink due to exposure to stress hormones, they disconnect from each other, which contributes to depression.

- Men are more likely than women to develop certain stress-related disorders, including hypertension, aggressive behavior, and abuse of alcohol and drugs.

- Chronic low-level noise and low-frequency noise below the threshold of human hearing provoke stress hormones that can interfere with learning and can also elevate blood pressure, degrade the immune system, and increase aggression.

- Stress creates hormonal changes in the human body that can decrease libido and sex response. However, the BBC reports that penetrative sex (as opposed to other types of sex, such as masturbation) decreased stress hormones while those who had no sex had the highest blood pressure.

- Extreme or sudden emotional trauma can lead to “broken heart syndrome”(BHS), or stress cardiomyopathy (severe heart muscle weakness). This condition occurs rapidly, and usually in women. In Japan, BHS is called “octopus trap cardiomyopathy” because the left ventricle balloons out in a peculiar shape.

“Stress manifests as a physical, psychological or social dysfunction resulting in individuals feeling unable to bridge the gap with the requirements or expectations placed upon them.” PAS 1010

“The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.”  HSE

Those pressures may come from many differing sources and when their combined effect is overwhelming, stress occurs.  This means that stress is not good for you. Stress is an unhealthy state of body or mind or both.

For many years, people have referred to the Flight or Fight response as the stress response but Flight/Fight is a one off reaction to a perceived challenge or pressure and as such, is a safety response, ensuring the individual is alerted to possible threats allowing them to take avoiding action.

However, continually being in this state means that the body chemicals associated with Flight/Fight are constantly being stimulated and the result is imbalance, creating ill health of one type or another. This is stress.

Most official statistics are at least 1 year old and statistics from other sources vary widely.

Here are just a few:

Office of National Statistics  2012

131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2011, down from 178 million days in 1993.

In 2011, around 131 million days were lost through absences due to sickness or injury, a fall of around 26 per cent since 1993 where 178 million days were lost (these figures include employees and self-employed, aged 16+, across the whole of the UK).

HSE 2012

The latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey 2010/11 show:

The total number of cases of stress in 2010/11 was 400,000 out of a total of 1,152,000 for all work-related illnesses. This is significantly lower than the number in 2001/02.

The number of new cases of work-related stress has reduced to 211,000 from 233,000 in 2009/10 (change not statistically significant).

The industries that reported the highest rates of work-related stress in the last three years were health, social work, education and public administration.

The occupations that reported the highest rates of work-related stress in the last three years were health and social service managers, teachers and social welfare associate professionals.

IOSH   2012

Findings from the ninth annual NHS staff survey revealed that 30 per cent of NHS staff reported they had experienced stress related to their jobs last year – a rise from 29 per cent in 2010 –  while, among ambulance staff, the figure hit 34 per cent.

EAP provider Validium  2012

Recorded a 70% increase in staff using EAP services between 2010 and 2012, with 60% of all contact from employees concerning personal issues.

CIPD/Simply Health 2011 Absence Management Report

Cost of Absence in the Public Sector is £800 per employee per year

Average number of absence days – 9.1

Cost of Absence in the Private Sector is £476 per employee per year

Average number of absence days – 6.4

Estimated annual cost to UK business : £13 billion

Aviva 2011

Workers have indicated they work  26 million extra hours in the workplace each day, according to new research from Aviva’s latest report on health of the workplace. It shows six in ten employees regularly work beyond their contracted hours, putting in an average of 1.5 hours overtime a day. Nearly one in four claim they work an extra 2-3 hours daily.  79% of these hours are unpaid, which means workers are providing around worth £225 million of ‘free’ hours each day for employers.

CIPD Survey October 2011

Stress has become the most common cause of long-term sickness absence for both manual and non-manual employees, according to the CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management survey.

Mind  2011

British businesses lose an estimated £26 billion each year in sickness absence and lost productivity. With greater awareness and mental health support, Mind indicate businesses could save one third off these costs -  £8 billion a year’.

Mind 2010

Stress has forced one in five workers (19%) to call in sick, yet the vast majority of these (93%) say they have lied to their boss about the real reason for not turning up

Axa/PPP/Work Foundation 2010

Presenteeism (when an employee attends work but is less productive than normal) costs businesses 105 time more than sickness absence

• The extent of stress - According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2005:
• more than 500,000 people in the UK believed they were
experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making
them ill
• 45,000 people first became aware of work-related stress,
depression or anxiety in the previous 1 months
• 15% of all working individuals thought their job was very or
extremely stressful, a slight reduction on the previous year
• stress remains the primary hazard of concern for workers.
However, levels of such concern have fallen significantly
since 1998.

The costs of stress - Estimates of the total cost of stress and
stress-related illness vary enormously, largely due to the different methodologies used to arrive at a final figure but:
• self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety
account for an estimated 1 .8 million reported lost working
days per year in Britain (HSE)
• after musculoskeletal disorders, stress is by far the largest
contributor to the overall number of days lost as a result of
work-related ill-health in the UK
• stress is, on average, the costliest of all work-related illnesses
in terms of days lost per case.
Executive Summary

Stress at Work
• The victims of stress - Statistics show that:
• the majority of cases of work-related mental-ill-health occur
in those aged 35-44 and 45-54 years
• there is a noticeable difference in the difference in
distribution of cases amongst men and women, with more cases amongst women in the 5-34 years age group, and more cases amongst men in the 35-44 years age group
• full-time employment is associated with greater levels of stress than part-time employment
• public sector workers are 64% likely to report stress to be the leading hazard of concern at work compared to 48% of workers in the private sector
• stress levels rise in line with higher levels of educational attainment
• stress is 9.1% more prevalent amongst black and minority ethnic workers than white workers
• nursing, teaching, administrators in government and related organisations and healthcare are amongst the most ‘stressful’ occupations.

 The causes of stress -
• Workload is the most pervasive factor linked to work-related
• There is little change in the relative importance of any of the
factors linked to work-related stress since 000.
• Factors other than workloads include cuts in staff, change,
long hours, bullying, shift work and sex or racial harassment.
Popular perceptions of a stress epidemic amongst UK workers are probably accurate, based on the sheer ubiquity of stress-related ill-health. Furthermore, levels of stress amongst UK workers peaked in the late 1990s and early 000s and have stabilised since, even if at a high level. The particular industrial sectors, occupations and demographic variables give rise to an uneven distribution of work- related stress within the population as a whole.

How stress takes a toll on the heart.
“Stress is as likely to cause a heart attack as being over-weight, smoking or having high cholesterol”."Stress-related illness has become the number one cause of absenteeism in the workplace in Britain and is believed to cost £3.7 billion a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs."

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