CBT for Occupational Stress in Health Professionals: by Martin R Bamber

By Martin R Bamber

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However, in order to help them cope with it, they may be making use of ‘safety behaviours’. Safety behaviours associated with anxiety, for example, may include not drawing attention to oneself, keeping quiet in meetings, sitting near an exit or escape route or avoiding eye contact. Although the individual may feel that these safety behaviours are helping them cope, in fact they act to maintain the problem. Thus, the aim of therapy is to drop these unhelpful behaviours systematically. Again the therapist and the patient can work together to identify the safety behaviours and rate them according to how difficult the patient perceives it would be to drop them (10 is most difficult and 0 is least difficult).

A good marriage and social support from friends, families and relatives can act as a buffer against stress at work (Cobb 1976; Cohen and Wills 1985; House 1981). Dual careers can put considerable strain on a marriage. For example, males are expected to move readily for job transfers and promotion if they want to progress in their careers and it is traditionally expected that their family and spouse follows them. Dual careers make this more complex (Cooper 1986). Associated with dual careers is the fact that when the female’s occupational prestige or income equals or exceeds that of their male spouse, this can lead to marital tensions.

There are also some commonly used measures of personal vulnerability/resistance factors associated with coping, including the Hardiness Scale (Kobasa et al. 1982), the Sense of Coherence Scale (Antonovsky 1979), the Locus of Control Scale (Rotter 1966; Steptoe 1983), ‘Type A’ behaviour scales such as the Jenkins Activity Survey (Jenkins et al. 1979) and measures of self esteem such as the Culture Free Self Esteem Inventory (Battle 1980). Also commonly used are measures of work performance (Broadbent et al.

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