Stress – Occupational complaints

Every profession brings with it a specific type of tension, stress or complaints. Accountant, Doctor, Driver, Healthcare, Teacher, Manager, Air Traffic Controller and Shift Worker are the professional groups that are examined here in relation to stress complaints. For example, palpitations, high blood pressure, stomach and intestinal disorders, stomach ulcers, migraines and burnout occur more often in one professional group than in another.

Stress in professions

  • Occupation and Stress
  • Occupational stress
  • Accountants
  • Doctors
  • Drivers
  • healthcare
  • Teachers
  • Executive Manager
  • Air traffic control
  • Shift work


Occupation and Stress

A number of professions are discussed below – in alphabetical order – in relation to stress. Which specific complaints or conditions arise in certain professions. The list does not provide a complete overview of all professions. If a specific profession is not listed, this does not mean that it is not a stressful profession or that there are no effects of stress or job-related stress. The selection of the professions below is based on data that may or may not be known or that has emerged from research. The professions are also sometimes described in general terms and not per specific field. For example, a manager can work in different sectors and a teacher can teach in primary education, special education or in secondary education, a driver can be a bus or truck driver, etc. In practice, specific differences will be noted in differentiated fields of work. . The complaints below in relation to stress are mainly discussed in the context of the profession in general (broad outlines).

Occupational disease

When the risk of certain conditions or a certain disease is relatively twice as high as the average (normal), it is called an occupational disease. (For example, the occupational disease hairdresser’s eczema is significantly more common among hairdressers and this type of eczema now also bears the name of the profession).

Occupational stress

Nine professions are discussed, indicating the most common stress-related complaints.


Research shows that in this professional group there is a particular increase in the cholesterol level in the blood plasma during busy periods with a lot of work at the same time.


Heart disease appears to occur more often among general practitioners and anesthetists than among dermatologists and pathologists. Perhaps the first two mentioned experience more stress in their work. (British) research has also shown that doctors have a relatively greater risk of addiction to tranquilizers and drugs. In their profession, doctors face tensions and great responsibility because they deal with human lives and are (or can be) involved in life and death.


High blood pressure, rapid heart rate, palpitations, sweating and stomach and intestinal disorders are common in drivers. The stress appears to mainly arise from a combination of factors. Such as concentration on increasingly busy roads, physical problems due to having to sit in the same position for too long and boredom on long journeys. In addition, there is driving on time, frequent stops in traffic jams and in some cases also the constant noise of the engine.


Healthcare has many different branches. For example, there will be more tension or physical strain in one field than in another. In general, back problems, increased blood pressure, migraines or tension headaches, agitation and psychological complaints or stress are particularly common among healthcare workers. This appears to arise from substantive aspects and tasks that the profession itself entails. But also (and perhaps especially) from increasing understaffing, excessive workload and no longer being able to devote the attention, time and quality care to people or patients that one would actually like or that should in principle be an important part or main part of the profession. are.


Teachers often experience emotional tension, psychological complaints and stress. Burnout complaints are particularly common in this professional group. This seems to partly arise from the content of the position itself. A teacher is expected not only to have know-how in terms of teaching material, but also to have didactic and pedagogical skills. And as there is increasing levels of aggressiveness, both in society in general and in schools, teachers are having an extra hard time.

Executive Manager

In the eighties, a heart attack was called a ‘manager’s disease’. This is outdated, in the sense that heart complaints are no longer only mentioned in connection with (or as an occupational disease) of managers. However, heart complaints are still stress-related complaints that often arise in this professional group. Middle management managers appear to be more sensitive to stress than top management managers.

Managers also appear to suffer more often from stomach and intestinal problems and tension. An important factor of fatigue and tension appears to be the fact that many managers find it difficult to let go of their work and tend to be constantly concerned with what still needs to be done and not with what has already been done. As a result, there is constant mental or psychological pressure (thinking capacity).

Great responsibility can go hand in hand with negative stress. However, this partly depends on stress resistance and varies per individual. Furthermore , a good assessment of one’s own capabilities is important in determining whether or not to aspire to or accept a managerial or managerial position. Not everyone is cut out to lead and take responsibility. For example, someone could lead qualitatively in terms of knowledge or insight, but not in terms of personality. This fact plays an important role in the development of stress-related complaints.

Air traffic control

Air traffic controllers often appear to suffer from high blood pressure and stomach ulcers. Symptoms such as a rapid pulse, sweating, increased adrenaline and norepinephrine production are observed more often in this occupational group. This appears to be related to the requirement for continuous supreme concentration and the hectic and unpredictable situations that can arise acutely in air traffic. And last but not least, an enormous sense of responsibility due to the realization that it could affect human lives. An error as a traffic controller is usually difficult to correct and can have dramatic and fatal consequences.

Shift work

Stomach ulcers occur relatively frequently among shift workers. It is suspected that changing shifts disrupts the production of adrenal cortex hormones and adrenaline, which can cause stress. Furthermore, due to different working hours, a disrupted social life or difficulty in participating in social activities also appears to be an important stress factor (see also stressors). Stress or the degree of stress appears to be apparent in shift work in the longer term, as people become more accustomed to it. can be decreased.

In general, long working hours appear to make people generally susceptible to heart complaints and heart attacks. A favorable exception to this appears to be farmers.

Note: The research data that served as a source for this article are from 2004 and have been supplemented as much as possible with recent data. However, it could be that shifts or changes have taken place or that recent data would highlight different or new aspects.

read more

  • Work and Stress – Causes of stress and burnout
  • Work and Stress – Coping
  • Test your Risk of Stress
  • Personality and Stress
  • Physical Reactions to Stress

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