Unrelenting Stress? Surviving Residential Work
Exposure to stress at work is gradually becoming recognised as a potentially damaging human condition since prolonged or intense stress can lead to mental and physical ill health. At its simplest, stress can be defined as a symptom of some sort of pressure. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) define work-related stress as the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demands placed upon them. This definition differentiates between the beneficial effects of stretching and challenging work which can provide a 'buzz' leading to stimulation, heightened curiosity and an energetic approach to work, and work-related stress which can ultimately lead to breakdown. Many studies of stress within social service departments have concentrated on the experiences of social workers but there are some exceptions. A study by the National Institute for Social Work research unit surveyed four groups of staff, including residential workers, in five local authorities in England.