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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume III, Work and Wellbeing by Peter Chen, Cary Cooper

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Chapter 9

Stress, Health, and Wellbeing in Practice

Workplace Leadership and Leveraging Stress for Positive Outcomes

James Campbell Quick

The University of Texas at Arlington, U.S.A. and Lancaster University Management School, U.K.

Joel Bennett

Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems, U.S.A.

M. Blake Hargrove

Shippensburg University, U.S.A.

There is a deep and ongoing relationship between an employee's stress, level of physical health, and experience of wellbeing. For example, work stress is a significant predictor of heart disease (Kivimäki et al., 2006), chronic stress is associated with obesity (Dallman et al., 2003), and obesity is associated with less wellbeing (Doll, Petersen, & Stewart-Brown, 2000), reduced engagement/productivity (Gates, Succop, Brehm, Gillespie, & Sommers, 2008), and lower participation in the workforce (Klarenbach, Padwal, Chuck, & Jacobs, 2006). Further, positive workplace engagement helps workers to handle stress (Bakker, Hakanen, Demerouti, & Xanthopoulou, 2007). Accordingly, any positive work designs or interventions that target one of these areas also affect the others. This chapter presents a model on the positive aspects of stress, and how workplaces can leverage these aspects to the benefit of health and wellbeing for organizations and for workers. We accentuate the positive with an understanding that negative aspects of stress (e.g., burnout, toxic emotions, trauma, or tragedy) cannot be ignored and that both strengths (protective factors) ...

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