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Journal cover: Journal of Managerial Psychology

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Online from: 1986

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress

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Title:Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress
Author(s):Mark Le Fevre, (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand), Jonathan Matheny, (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand), Gregory S. Kolt, (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Citation:Mark Le Fevre, Jonathan Matheny, Gregory S. Kolt, (2003) "Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 18 Iss: 7, pp.726 - 744
Keywords:Control theory, Individual perception, Stress
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/02683940310502412 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:MCB UP Ltd
Abstract:We examine the concepts of stress, distress, and eustress and develop three tenets that are used to relate these concepts to three major theories or models of occupational stress. Selye's concept of eustress or “good stress” appears to be largely ignored in the literature, while the Yerkes Dodson Law is illustrated as a model for management practice. We suggest that the meaning assigned to the word stress has shifted from Selye's original formulation, and that this shift, in conjunction with the use of the Yerkes Dodson Law leads to inappropriate management of stress in organizations. We conclude that the concept that some stress is good and enhances performance should be rejected in favour of more useful and accurate concepts.

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