Stress and Individual Behavior

Cite this article as:"Stress and Individual Behavior," in The Business Professor, updated July 15, 2020, last accessed October 22, 2020,

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What Is Stress?

Stress concerns any outside force affecting an individual. The forces have physical, mentall, emotional, and behavioral manifestations.

Hans Selye proposed the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) model demonstrating how stress affects an individual in three steps:

  • Alarm – An outside stressor drives reaction or response in the individual.
  • Resistance – If the stressor is not received, the body adjusts to meet the demands of stress such as releasing cortisol.
  • Exhaustion – This is the point at which the body has used up all resources and remains depleted.

Workplace Stressors

Common workplace stressors include:

Common Sources of Work Stress

Some common categories of workplace stressors are:

  • Task Demands
  • Role Demands
  • Physical Demands
  • Information Overload
  • Interpersonal Demands

Specific aspects of the work environment that might fall into these categories include:

  • Low salaries
  • Excessive workloads
  • Few opportunities for growth or advancement
  • Work that isn’t engaging or challenging
  • Lack of social support
  • Not having enough control over job-related decisions
  • Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations.

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