Stress Interventions Versus Positive Interventions

Caroline Biron, Cary L. Cooper and Philip Gibbs

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Stress Interventions Versus Positive Interventions

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The term stress is one that has received much attention over the past 30 years, particularly within occupational settings. At an individual level, stress represents a real risk to an employee’s quality of life, and at an organizational level, there are heavy financial costs due to absenteeism and presenteeism. In recent years, this field of research has received criticism that too much emphasis has been placed on negative issues, while largely ignoring any positive ones. With the growing influence of the positive movement, this chapter attempts to revisit the implications of the intervention it entails. Given the adverse health effects of occupational stress, preventing it by alleviating or eliminating psychosocial risks should be one of the priorities of researchers in occupational health psychology. From a positive perspective, there is also a need to understand the characteristics of healthy, thriving, and flourishing people and organizations. This chapter aims to explore the implications of using a positive approach as opposed to a stress management one. Although we acknowledge that the traditional occupational stress models and the more recent positive trends are distinct conceptually, both approaches ultimately aim to bring about changes to improve in the workplace. However, these changes are not conceptually distinct when arising from the positive (promoting health) and the negative (preventing stress) perspectives.

Keywords: Positive stress; organizational stress interventions; risk management; psychosocial characteristics; health promotion

Article.  9456 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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