Luxembourg: EWCO Comparative Analytical Report on WORK-RELATED STRESS

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 22 November 2010



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One of the largest surveys on stress, held in 2006, shows that the level of stress of the working population in Luxembourg is lower than in other European surveys. 29.4% of the women are at very high stress levels (against 15.2% of the men). This difference in disfavour of women is found in all of the epidemiological studies on stress though it was decidedly more marked in Luxembourg. Educational levels and stress levels would seem to have a strong converse link between them. Another survey shows that, as regard to the branch of industry, it is noticeable that it is the workers of the “Transport and Communication” and “Financial Intermediation” sectors who are the most affected by stress.

Q1 Monitoring work-related stress at the national level

1. Are there any instruments in place to monitor work-related stress at the national level, for example, national surveys, sectoral studies, epidemiological studies, action research, or other research programmes? Please describe the main sources of information available on work-related stress in your country (coverage, methodology, definitions used, etc.).

  • Survey of work-related stress, carried out by Stimulus, at the request of the Confederation of Luxembourg Trade Unions (Onofhängege Gewerkschaftsbond Lëtzebuerg) OGBL and the Luxembourg League for Mental Hygiene, 2006 (Stimulus-Survey).

The methodology developed for this survey was an operational synthesis of the principal models for explaining stress (Karasek and Siegrist).

The published results came from a survey of people active in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The sample, representative of the active population, was composed of residents, and of Belgian and French cross-border commuters. This sample consisted of 1,230 people.

The questionnaire contained 114 obligatory questions. The data was collected by telephone. The 1,230 interviews were conducted with 835 residents, 122 Belgian cross-border commuters and 273 French cross-border commuters.

The following descriptive variables were used to segment the respondent population and to enable the results to be analysed by subpopulation:

  • Gender

  • Age category

  • Marital situation (single or in a couple)

  • Dependent children

  • Occupational status

  • Occupation

  • Nationality

  • Level of education

  • Shift work

  • Length of service in the current company

  • Length of service in the job

  • Supervisory responsibilities

  • Number of people supervised

  • Number of employees in the company

  • Household income

  • Two-way commuting time

For the measurements of stress (dependent variables), the measured parameters were the following:

  • An individual’s reaction to stress (stress level) was measured via 25 questions on three levels: behavioural, psychological and somatic. The questionnaire enabled a score of between 0 and 200 to be calculated. These stress levels were grouped together according to three categories: very low, low or average (conveying a real state of stress), plus a high level (conveying a health-endangering state of stress for the individual).

  • The consequences of stress on the state of psychological health were evaluated via a 14 questions on two levels: the presence of anxious disorders and the presence of depressive disorders. The scale of the scores was comprised between 0 and 21. From these scores, four levels could be defined for each of the two anxious or depressive dimensions: No Real Emotional Activation (absence of anxiety or depression), Slight Emotional Activation (some signs of anxiety or depression), Significant Emotional Activation (notable anxious or depressive signs), and Very Strong Emotional Activation (undoubtedly anxious or depressive pathology). The stress factors were evaluated via a 42 questions and were ranked according to 10 categories of stressors:

  • Demands (workload, risk of error, high objectives, complicated tasks, information to be processed, and feeling of urgency)

  • Organisation (monotony of the tasks, ambiguity of roles, contradictory objectives, conflict of values, communication, and constraining working hours)

  • Change (acquisition of skills, restructuring/reorganisation, and unpredictability)

  • Control (latitude of work, control of the pace of the work, rigidity of the procedures, and participation in the decisions)

  • Resources (training, qualification, and technical means - tools, hardware, software, etc.)

  • Support (from the hierarchy, colleagues, and close relations)

  • Difficult Relations (work environment, quality of the human contacts, aggressive contacts, harassment, and relations with the hierarchy)

  • Frustration (material conditions, recognition of effort, pride of belonging, feeling of fairness, and the meaning of the work)

  • Environment (work setting, travel and transport, noise and bustle, and physical demand)

  • Balance (balance between personal life and working life, extra-curricular activities, and reproaches from the entourage)

The questionnaire enabled 10 scores of between 0 and 12 to be calculated.

All the results were compared with the results on stress of a so-called reference population consisting of the data established by the European Agency for Safety and Health At Work (in particular those of 2000 : “Cox T, Griffiths AJ, Rial-Gonzaler E. Research on Work-Related Stress. European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2000”), Epidemiologic Data on Mental Disorders in Europe (in particular the latest study of October 2005: “European Neuropsychopharmacology & European Brain Council. The Size and Burden of Mental Disorders in Europe. Elsevier, 2005”) and of a similar survey carried out in France among 10,000 employees.

  • In 2007, the National Statistics Service (STATEC) introduced some supplementary questions relating to stress into the Ad-hoc module of the Labour Force Survey. 8.400 people aged 15 and over who were present on the labour market were questioned (STATEC Survey).

2. Provide, if available, data on the overall level of work-related stress based on the identified sources. If possible, identify the main trends in this matter presenting data (e.g. for the last five years).

The STIMULUS survey population was overall at lower stress levels than those of the reference populations: 20.9% at a very high level (against 27.2% in the reference populations), 25.6% high (against 33.2%) and 53.5% very low, low or average (against 39.6%).

29.4% of the women were at very high stress levels (against 15.2% of the men) and only 47.8% were at low or average levels (against 57.3%). This difference in disfavour of women is found in all of the epidemiological studies on stress. Here however it was decidedly more marked.

25.7% of the people of Portuguese nationality were at very high stress levels against 18.5% of the people of Luxembourg nationality.

In terms of occupation, it was among blue-collar workers that very high stresses levels were found (24.6%), then came middle- or low-level employees and civil servants (20.1% altogether), followed by teachers (13.3%). Only 8.6% of senior executives were at very high stress levels, i.e. nearly three times less than blue-collar workers.

Educational levels and stress levels would seem to have a strong converse link between them: seemingly, the higher the educational level the lower the stress level. Thus 44.4% of employees with a very low educational level (no or little schooling) were at a very high stress level. If one looks at the employees who had attended higher education, only 15% among them were at a very high stress level. The difference is 1 to 3.

In the STATEC Survey, 32% of the respondents replied that they had no work-related stress, 9% claimed that it was rather low, 38% medium and 21% high.

Women were less affected than men. 44% of the former asserted that they had no work-related stress or that it was fairly low, against 38% of the latter. 17% of the women were affected by a high stress level, while among the men, the figure was 24%. While 39% of the nationals had no stress or a low stress level, for the foreign population, this percentage was 43%. 22% of the Luxembourgers were suffering from high stress against 19% of foreigners. The survey results show that stress levels and educational levels were closely related. The same is true as and when we climb the hierarchical ladder. 16% of manual workers experienced a high stress level against 20% of administrative employees. This percentage amounted to 22% for the intermediate occupations and to 27% among senior executives. By branch of industry, it is noticeable that it was the workers of the “Transport and Communication” and “Financial Intermediation” sectors who were the most affected (28% and 29% declared a high level of stress, respectively, against 15% and 16% in the construction and hotels and restaurants sectors).

Q2 Risk factors for work-related stress

Based on the main or most used monitoring instruments available (identified in Q1), please provide information on the following risk factors for stress.

Note: If available, please provide information on the main changes or trends in text. Any tables with figures illustrating those trends should be included in annex (if possible, breakdown the data by gender and/or other relevant variables).

In the Stimulus survey, the demands of the work are not subdivided according to the quantitative or qualitative dimension of the demands. The “Demands” variable includes both dimensions at the same time. Similarly, the “Organisation” variable includes not only the organisational and communication aspects but also the organisational values. We would therefore prefer not to breakdown the survey’s results according to the diagram below. But to present the presence and impact of the various factors on an overall basis. Some specific analysis elements have however been added.

The stressors to which the surveyed population was most exposed were “Change” and “Demands” (see the methodological aspects above for the dimensions contained within these two stress factors).

The stressors were appraised on a scale from 1 to 12:

1. Lack of Resources: 2.92

2. Unbalanced Life: 3.09

3. Lack of Support: 3.18

4. Difficult Relations: 3.55

5. Organisation: 4.14

6. Frustration: 4.39

7. Environment: 4.44

8. Lack of Control: 4.79

9. Demands: 6.34

10. Change: 6.58

If one analyses these stressors according to their impact on stress levels, the survey shows that the most powerful of them was Unbalanced Life (for more details, please see Annex).

The survey shows that the ranking of the stressors in terms of their impact on stress levels presents notable differences from their ranking in terms of presence. The “Change” factor, for example, top of the list in terms of presence, does not explain the stress level. The “Demands” factor, for its part, comes second in presence and in stress level alike. The “Organisation” factor also appears to explain the stress level.

Moreover, certain less present factors prove to have a strong impact on stress levels. Imbalance between the professional and the private life seems best to explain the fact of being stressed. The study of the population with a very high stress level (20.9% of the sample) shows a “ranking” of the stress factors that is entirely comparable with that of the remainder of the population, or in any case, without any significant differences. The study of the population of people with a very high stress level (20.9% of the sample) shows a ranking of the impact of the stressors factors that is fairly different from that of the remainder of the population: it is the “Unbalanced Life” factor that appears to be the greatest cause for this most highly stressed population.

For men and women alike, “Demands” and “Unbalanced Life” are factors that explain the stress levels. Women, the population thought to be more “at risk”, are distinguished from men by the more marked role in the explanation of the very high stress levels of the “Organisation” and “Lack of Support” stressors. For men, it is the “Difficult Relations” and the “Lack of Control” factors that explain a high stress level.

Table 1 - Presence of Stressors According to Occupational Status
Presence of Stressors According to Status (Scores on a scale from 0 to 12)
 

Statuts

 

Blue-collar Worker

Employee

Civil Servant

Total

Organisation 

4.89

3.94

3.30

4.14

Lack of Control

5.17

4.70

4.33

4.79

Frustration

4.62

4.59

3.43

4.39

Environment

5.60

3.88

3.73

4.44

Demands

6.06

6.84

6.15

6.44

Difficult Relations

3.99

3.33

3.29

3.55

Unbalanced Life

3.57

2.97

2.45

3.08

Lack of Support

3.61

3.06

2.81

3.20

Lack of Resources

3.23

2.91

2.42

2.93

Change

6.28

7.03

6.01

6.58

Source: Survey of work-related stress, carried out by Stimulus, at the request of the OGBL and the Luxembourg League for Mental Hygiene, 2006

While the “Unbalanced Life” and “Demands” stress factors explain the stress levels for all of the statuses. Blue-collar workers are also concerned by the “Organisation” factor, white collar workers in the private sector, civil servants and blue-collar workers of the Public sector are also concerned by the “Lack of Support” factor.

Table 2 - Presence of Stressors According to Occupation
Presence of Stressors According to Occupation (Scores on a scale from 0 to 12)
 

Occupation

 

Senior Executive

Teacher

Middle- and Low-Level Employee or Civil Servant

Blue-collar Worker

Total

Organisation 

3.03

2.31

3.95

4.82

4.14

Lack of Control

3.05

3.39

4.85

5.16

4.79

Frustration

3.83

3.36

4.43

4.56

4.36

Environment

3.33

3.59

3.90

5.42

4.44

Demands

7.64

5.92

6.73

6.01

6.44

Difficult Relations

2.88

2.77

3.43

3.90

3.55

Unbalanced Life

3.40

2.47

2.84

3.45

3.08

Lack of Support

2.62

2.70

3.07

3.51

3.20

Lack of Resources

2.23

2.84

2.83

3.15

2.93

Change

7.20

5.56

6.89

6.26

6.58

Source: Survey of work-related stress, carried out by Stimulus, at the request of the OGBL and the Luxembourg League for Mental Hygiene, 2006

The survey indicates that the “Unbalanced Life” stress factor contributes to the stress level across all occupations. “Lack of Support” also plays a role among Teachers and Senior Executives. Among the latter, the “Demands” factor also explains the stress level, as is the case not only for middle- or low-level Employees and Civil Servants, but also for Workers. Among the latter, the “Organisation” factor is also playing a role in the stress level. Let us note that for the Middle- or Low-level Employees and Civil Servants, two factors are specific to them in contributing to the stress level: “Difficult Relations” and “Lack of Control”.

Table 3 - Presence of stressors according to branch of industry
Presence of stressors according to branch of industry (Scores on a scale from 0 to 12)
 

Agriculture

Building

Industry, Production

Cleaning, Security services

Craft Industry

Hotels, Restaurants, Shops

Organisation 

4.86

4.87

4.47

4.78

4.67

4.95

Lack of Control

4.86

5.32

4.92

4.69

4.85

5.12

Frustration

4.23

5.01

4.68

4.81

4.12

4.88

Environment

5.57

5.50

4.83

4.47

5.95

5.22

Demands

5.60

6.53

6.56

5.03

6.67

6.17

Difficult Relations

3.31

3.86

3.75

3.41

4.40

4.01

Unbalanced Life

2.67

3.54

2.99

4.09

3.07

3.76

Lack of Support

2.29

3.73

3.04

3.53

4.27

3.53

Lack of Resources

2.10

3.57

3.05

3.02

3.07

3.06

Change

5.71

6.54

7.18

5.51

7.00

6.30

Table 3b - Presence of stressors according to branch of industry
Presence of stressors according to branch of industry (Scores on a scale from 0 to 12)
 

Banking, Insurance

Transport

IT, Telecommunication

Teaching

Welfare/

Health Sector

Public Sector

Services Sector (Real Estate, Water, Gas and Electricity Distribution)

Organisation 

3.77

4.63

4.09

2.48

3.87

3.46

3.24

Lack of Control

4.87

5.32

4.55

3.39

5.00

4.54

4.14

Frustration

4.68

4.17

5.33

3.34

3.79

3.41

3.89

Environment

3.68

4.92

3.71

3.69

4.45

3.79

3.43

Demands

7.17

6.18

7.39

5.94

7.04

6.08

6.57

Difficult Relations

3.20

4.06

3.09

2.93

3.22

3.58

3.66

Unbalanced Life

2.86

3.16

2.95

2.47

3.14

2.36

2.67

Lack of Support

3.06

3.14

3.39

2.73

3.00

2.96

2.48

Lack of Resources

2.96

2.69

3.23

2.75

2.61

2.35

4.38

Change

7.49

6.69

7.72

5.57

6.67

6.05

5.71

Source: Survey of work-related stress, carried out by Stimulus, at the request of the OGBL and the Luxembourg League for Mental Hygiene, 2006

The craft industry, population at risk with 45% of people at a very high stress level, finds its source of stress in a crystal clear “Lack of Support”.

For the Cleaning/Guarding sector, with a very high stress rate of 36%, the “Organisation” and “Demands” factors are the ones that best explain the stress levels.

For the Hotel, Restaurant and Shop sector, the “Unbalanced Life”, “Lack of Control” and “Demands” factors are the ones that best explain the stress levels. All in all, the “Demands” and “Unbalanced Life” stressors seem to be causing stress for the majority of the branches of industry.

1. Quantitative demands: workload, working hours, quantity and intensity of work.

See the information above concerning the Stimulus-survey. The complexity and intensity of the work aspects were processed simultaneously in the “Demands” stressor. The work hours were taken into account in the “Organisation” variable the same time as other aspects, such as the company’s values. It is therefore impossible to analyse these factors separately.

The STATEC Survey shows that the fact of working full-time had a negative effect on the level of work-related stress. Although 23% of people in full-time employment asserted that they had a very high stress level, this percentage fell to 12% for people in part-time employment, more than half even claiming to have no work-related stress at all or only at a low level. This can be explained by the fact that people in part-time employment often have posts with less responsibility and seldom occupy supervisory posts. The results also show that people whose working hours are usually atypical more often experienced high stress than those whose working hours were more regular. The daily work period also induced stress. Only 12% of the people working less than 30 hours per week declared that they were extremely stressed. This rate rose to 20% for those who worked between 30 and 40 hours, to 28% for those who worked between 40 and 50 hours, and reaching 44% for the people who worked for more than 50 hours per week. Similarly, people who worked overtime more often declared that they suffered from work-related stress. But those who worked this overtime at the boss’s request less often declare suffered from stress than those who worked overtime on a voluntary basis. This is explained by the fact that in cases of overtime worked at the boss’s request, 90% of the workers are remunerated or have right to time-off in lieu, against only 50% of the overtime worked on a voluntary basis.

2. Qualitative demands: these refer to emotional and cognitive demands at work and may include work-life balance issues, complexity of work, dealing with angry clients and suffering patients, feeling afraid, having to hide emotions, etc.

The Stimulus survey reveals that “Unbalanced Life” is the factor that generally has the greatest impact on the stress level of the most highly stressed population. It is a relevant risk factor whatever the occupation and has slightly more impact on the stress level among women than among men. On the other hand, it is not a relevant factor for an explanation of the stress level among unskilled workers.

3. Relations at work which may include social support from colleagues or supervisor, management style and relationships with colleagues/managers/the organisation; violence and harassment at work.

“Difficult Relations”, according to the Stimulus survey, have only a low impact on the general stress level in the surveyed population. “Lack of Support” has a little more. This factor is explanatory of the stress among women whereas “Difficult Relations” is for men. “Lack of Support” is also the second explanatory factor of the stress among Civil Servants. That is also in general the case among Employees, Senior Executives, Teachers, Craft Industry Workers and people in their jobs for less than two years.

4. Autonomy, decision latitude and room for manoeuvre: control over work, including control over pace of work and over job content and decision-making power; predictability of work, use and possibility to develop skills.

In the Stimulus-survey, “Lack of Control” is especially present among workers, but does not explain the stress. On the other hand, it is the first factor explaining the stress in the hotel and restaurant sector and the second in public sector.

5. Individual and collective mechanisms for employees’ involvement, particularly in relation to organisational change and change management, including communication of change.

The Stimulus-survey shows that the presence of a stressor such as “Change” was particularly important in the Finance, IT and Telecommunications sectors, in Building, and in the Cleaning and Guarding sector. But it does not explain the stress levels in any of those sectors. The factor discriminates little according to the Educational Level. It is more so according to Occupation since it is more present among Senior Executives officers than among the other occupational groups even though it hardly explains the stress in that category.

6. The perception of the role that the employee holds in the organisation and whether the employee is clear about what is expected of them in terms of their job; clarity of the management changes, i.e., how organisations manage and communicate change; motivation; over commitment and reward.

The aspects relating to the Meaning of the Work and the Recognition of Effort are included under the “Frustration” dimension of the Stimulus survey. This is not a factor that explains the stress level of the population as a whole, even though it is present. It seems however to be more relevant for Luxembourgers than for the workers of other nationalities and would partly explain the stress among unskilled workers and among workers with less than two years of service in the job.

7. Conflicts of value and organisational justice.

This dimension was not dealt with separately in the surveys.

8. Precariousness of work (i.e. nature of the employment contract).

From the STATEC Survey, it emerges that the work-related stress level that is experienced varies considerably according to the characteristics of the employment contract. Although on the one hand, 21% of the people in employment on an open-ended contract declared that they felt a high level of stress, only 9% of the people on a fixed-period contract were affected at this level. In general the stress level was higher among men than among women but the opposite situation was found among people on fixed-period contracts. One can note that 21% of the people who were in a back-to-work measure of the Employment Administration felt highly stressed, which can be explained by the uncertainty of finding a job after leaving the measure.

If there are no surveys or large scale research programmes available, please provide information on how stress is measured/assessed in other sources: qualitative research data on stress risk assessment at company level or sectoral level, studies with a focus on specific occupations, etc.

Q3 Work-related stress outcomes

Please provide information (including references to the sources or studies) on stress-related outcomes:

Individual outcomes (e.g. mental health illnesses, including depression and anxiety, and physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), disabilities, fatigue and sleeping problems);

The use of sleeping pills (occasional and regular) was reported by 6.9% of the Stimulus survey respondents. These people were distinctly more affected by very high stress levels: precisely, 61.9% of the regular sleeping pill users and 51.6% of the occasional users were at very high stress levels (compared with the 18.4% of the non-users). Regular use of psychotropic drugs concerned 3.5% of the population and occasional use was also 3.5%. The percentage of individuals at very high stress levels was very great among psychotropic drug users (60.5% among regular users and 65.1% among occasional users).

Approximately 90% of the people questioned said that they were in fairly good or excellent psychological health. These same people were distinctly less affected by very high stress levels. The very high stress levels were found definitely more often among people expressing a fairly poor (68.54%) and poor state of psychological health (81.8%). Among the eighteen criteria studied, twelve emerged as statistically related to the stress level: Detailed Nationality, Grouped Nationality, Sex, Dependent Child/Children, Detailed Status, Grouped Status, Public/Private Status, Detailed Occupation, Grouped Occupation, Educational Level, Branch of industry, and Household Income. On the contrary, the anxiety level therefore did not seem to be related to the following ten criteria: Age, Marital Situation, Working Hours, Shift Work, Length of Service in the Company, Length of Service in the Job, Supervisory Responsibility, Number of People Supervised, Number of Staff in the Company, and Commuting Time.

The social construction of stress by group of workers: can you provide references and main findings of research discussing this issue; factors acknowledged as stressful by some group of workers; groups which refer to stress or not to describe unsatisfactory situations

According to the Stimulus survey, for the population of Portuguese nationality, the statistical analysis does not allow to highlight specific factors explaining the levels of stress. However, for the two other populations (Luxembourg and other nationalities) the factors “unbalanced life”, “demands” and “organisation” are significant. For the Luxembourg population the factors “lack of control” and “frustrations” play an important role in the levels of stress while for other nationalities, the factor “lack of support” is the most important.

As far as men and women are concerned, “requirements” and “imbalanced life” are factors explaining the levels of stress. Women, the population considered as more “at the risk”, are distinguished from men by a more important role of the stressors “organisation” and “lack of support” in the explanation of the levels of very high stressed workers category. For the men, it is the factors “difficult relations” and “lack of control” which explain a level of high stress.

For the people having a status of blue-collar worker, in addition to the “imbalanced life”, the factors having the strongest impact on the level of stress are the “organisation” and “demands”. For the people having a statute of white-collar worker in the private sector, in addition to the “imbalanced life”, the factors having the strongest impact on the level of stress are also the “organisation” and the “demands”. For the people having a status of civil servant, in addition to the “imbalanced life”, the factors having the strongest impact on the level of stress are the “demands” and the “lack of support”.

The factor of stress “unbalanced life” contributes for all the professions to the level of stress. For the teachers and the senior officers “lack of support” also plays a part.. For the latter the factor “demands” explains also the level of stress, just like for the white-collar workers and civil servants of mean or lower level but also blue-collar workers. For the latter the factor “organisation” plays also a part in the level of stress. Let us note that for the white-collar workers and the civil servants of mean or lower level two factors are specific in the contribution to their level of stress: “difficult relations” and “lack of control”.

For the people having a level of education “secondary education”, the factors “organisation”, “demandss” and “imbalanced of life” have the most impact in term of level of stress. Imbalance between professional life and personal life seems to be a factor explaining the level of stress whatever the seniority, except for those having less than two years within the job. The factor “demands” is a real stressor for all workers, but the factor disappears as an explaining factor for the workers beyond 15 years of seniority. Only workers with less than 2 years of seniority have the factor “frustrations” explaining their level of stress.

Another older study, the PSELL-3 Survey (Liewen zu Lëtzebuerg Socio-Economic Panel), launched in 2003, among a representative sample of the population residing in Luxembourg which covers a wide field of research, also provides some results concerning work-related stress. Thus to the question: “Do you have the feeling that your job is a source of stress?” 30% of the employees replied that it was often the case, 45% sometimes and 25% seldom. Stress was more frequently encountered among the employees who feared losing their jobs, among those whose work periods were long and among those in responsible jobs. Alongside these factors, it was also noted that only the employees of the construction sector declared less frequently than those in financial intermediation than their work was often a source of stress. No significant difference on the other hand emerged between the employees of the financial intermediation sector and those of the other branches of industry. The size of the company also seemed to play a part in people’s stress at work: the employees of small companies declared less frequently that they were suffering from tress than those of the larger companies. Alongside the factors that describe the job, one notes, still taking account of the effects of structure, that the perception of stress changes according to age, sex and country of origin, reflecting different modes of expression. Thus, in identical situations, the younger people and the men complained less often of work-related stress than their elders and the women. By country of origin, one finds tendencies observed in terms of overall work satisfaction. Stress was evoked less frequently among cross-border commuters than among Luxembourg residents. On the other hand, foreign and Luxembourg residents presented no differences.

Organisational outcomes (effects that individual stress outcomes have on organisations, e.g. absence from work, job satisfaction, morale, level of commitment, productivity, and the impact of these outcomes on organisations’ costs, performance, or innovation capacity);

The results of the STATEC Survey show that to the question of whether the pressure that a person undergoes has a positive or negative effect on the quality of his or her work, 75% replied that the pressure from work-related stress had no influence on the quality of their work. Approximately 9% of the people that were questioned even believed that this pressure had a positive role on the quality of their work, this proportion being practically the same among both men and women.

Labour Market or Societal level outcomes (the ‘costs’ to society of stress). This could include issues such as higher levels of unemployment and of recipients of incapacity benefits, costs to health and welfare systems, loss of productivity.

According to the STATEC survey, 5% of the people had to take sick leave because of an excess of work-related stress. This situation arose more frequently among the women (6%) than among the men (3%). It was the people in the “transport and communications” sector, followed by those in the health sector, who were most frequently affected.

Q4 Interventions on work-related stress management

What relevant information is available about interventions on work-related stress management and their effectiveness?

Are any interventions in place to prevent or manage work-related stress? If so, what kind of interventions are they? Please describe them making reference to coverage, effectiveness, since when they are in place, etc.

Interventions in companies are rare.

Which organisations are promoting these interventions? E.g. at national level (health and safety authority, labour inspectorate, social partners, government), at sectoral or at company level?

The Ministry of Health has launched a public awareness campaign for companies on the subject of health at work. Stress was one of the addressed subjects.

The government also subsidises some private associations involved in employee support and

guidance such as Stress asbl and Mobbing asbl. These organisations have been founded by the trade unions (Stress asbl by the OGBL and Mobbing asbl by the LCGB). Their role is to inform, give advice to workers who suffer from stress or mobbing.

The Occupational Health Departments have recently recruited psychologists who can intervene in companies if they so request.

The trade unions are very active in raising public awareness about stress. The campaigns refer first and foremost to individual training and support.

The employer organisations have incorporated the subject of the stress in campaigns for the promotion of corporate social responsibility.

Are the interventions devised to be implemented at the primary (action on causes) / secondary (action on individuals) or tertiary (action on the consequences of stress) stage?

Most of the interventions seem to be oriented towards actions of a secondary and tertiary nature.

Are any common instruments to measure stress at organisational level being used, developed, tested or assessed? Please describe them, indicating since when they are in place.

No. However, companies are obliged to inventory their jobs at risk on the basis of a document drawn up by the Ministry of Health’s Occupational Health Division. Stress is not included among the characteristics of a post at risk as defined by the legislation. Some companies however include spontaneously stress as being a characteristic of a post at risk. An analysis of these data, coming from the bigger companies that cover 2/3 of the workers in general (200,000 people), has revealed that the exposure to stress rate is 11%. For those companies which made an internal survey among there workers to define the posts at risk, the data reveal that 36% of workers state that they suffer from stress at work. The most affected sectors are the Health, Hotels and Restaurants, and retail trade sectors. It should be noted that, in this context, companies have of their own initiative regarded stress as a risk-aggravating factor. The inventory of the posts at risk is entrusted to a designated member of staff. It is compiled every three years and is sent to the Ministry of Health’s Occupational Health Division.

Please identify and describe up to three examples of good practice and their effectiveness in terms of stress management, with a special focus on the lessons learned. These can be at national, sectoral or organisational level.

There are no good practices identified.

Are there any public discussions and/or interventions that address specifically the identification, prevention and management of stress due to organisational change and restructuring? If yes, please summarise them.

No.

Q5 Commentary

Please provide your own/your institution/centre view on work-related stress, referring to, for example, national debates about the topic or any other issue considered important from your national perspective which was not covered by this questionnaire.

Work-related stress is a subject that has been put forward by social partners on the impetus in particular of the Economic and Social Council. It has therefore been possible for surveys to be conducted. Awareness-raising campaigns have been developed (training courses, conferences) in the course of a few years. However, in terms of intervention, it really seems that there is a rationale of individual and extra-company support that tops the list. Generally, the subject of the management of work-related stress is more associated with the dimension of corporate social responsibility than enshrined in the context of the framework safety and health at work directive and the ensuing national legislation.

Odette Wlodarski, Prevent

References

  • Berger Frédéric, Satisfaits, stressés au travail? Etat des lieux du bien-être des salariés, in: Vivre au Luxembourg, N°16, Janvier 2006, CEPS/INSTEAD http://www.sante.public.lu/publications/impacts-milieu-vie/sante-travail/satisfaits-stresses-travail-etat-lieux-bien-etre-salaries/satisfaits-stresses-travail-etat-lieux-bien-etre-salaries.pdf

  • Frising A., et al., Rapport Travail et Cohésion Sociale, STATEC, Cahier économique n°107, 2008, 103p. http://www.statistiques.public.lu/fr/publications/series/cahiersEconomiques/2008/107_cohesion_sociale/107_cohesion_sociale.pdf

  • Legéron Patrick, Cristofini Romain, Enquête sur le stress professionnel: Rapport Complet, OGBL, Ligue Luxembourgeoise d’Hygiène Mentale, 2006, 155p. http://www.ogbl.lu/pdf/publications/divers/etude_stress.pdf

  • Annex: Impact of stress factors on stress level

  • One of the objectives of the Stimulus Servey (Legéron Patrick, Cristofini Romain, Enquête sur le stress professionnel: Rapport Complet, OGBL, Ligue Luxembourgeoise d’Hygiène Mentale, 2006) was to identify which factors were a source of stress and to what degree these factors are explaining a high level of stress. The most significant factors are mentioned hereunder and more precisely which statement(s) in the questionnaire contributed the most the result.

  • Unbalanced Life (2.55): Only one question out of three contributed strongly to the observed score. The question: “My entourage often reproaches me for not devoting enough time to it because of my work”: Fairly True/Completely True = 34%.

  • Demands (2.12): Three questions out of five contributed more strongly to the observed score.

  • The question: “My work requires long periods of intense concentration”: Fairly True/Completely True = 74.3%. The question: “In my work, making a mistake could have serious consequences.”: Fairly True/Completely True = 62.5%. The question: “I have to process an enormous amount of complicated information.”: Fairly True/Completely True = 60.7%.

  • Organisation (1.89): Five questions out of six contributed more strongly than the others to the score. The question: “My work consists of monotonous and repetitive tasks.”: Completely True /Fairly True = 40.9%. The question: “My work hours are constraining.”: Fairly True/Completely True = 31.6%. The question: “The company’s values do not chime with my own.” : Fairly True/Completely True = 31.0%. The question: “The communication and the exchanges of information within my company are satisfactory.” : Fairly True/Completely True = 30.7%.

  • The question: “I often receive contradictory instructions from my superiors.”: Fairly True/Completely True = 30.3%.

  • Lack of Support (1.02): One question out of three contributed more to the score than the two others. “My superiors help and support me when I encounter difficulties.”: 27.2% replied “Fairly True/Completely True”.

  • Lack of Control (0.81): One question out of four contributed strongly to the score.

  • “In my work, I have to comply with rigid and closely supervised procedures.”: Fairly True/Completely True = 62%.

  • Difficult Relations (0.76): One question out of five contributed strongly to the observed score.

  • “I’m often in contact with people who are impolite, even aggressive.”: Fairly True/Completely True = 44.1%.

  • Environment (0.74): Three questions out of four contributed to the observed score. The question: “I work in a noisy and agitated atmosphere.”: 42.9% = Fairly True/Completely True. The question: “I spend a lot of time commuting or travelling on business.”: 38.9% = Fairly True/Completely True. The question: “My trade requires physically painful efforts or tasks.”: 33.8% = Fairly True/Completely True.

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