Human Services: Stress Measurement

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From day to day lives of many people are subjects to a variety of situations which are problematic and challenging and require immediate solutions. Some worry about the adequacy of their family finances, which could be compounded by the lack of a job. This results to a very challenging situation where the person unconsciously finds solutions – fight or flight – to rectify the situation, a phenomenon known as stress. Stress permeates all levels of society including the workplace. In organizations, employees as well as managers are affected by stress due to pressure for efficiency and performance, with profound negative outcomes (Dewe & ODriscoll, 2002). This paper details the selection of a means for measuring client progress in relation to stress, as the identified target behavior, and the measurement tool that will be used to assess it.

Fundamentally, stress is a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs people’s mental or physical equilibrium where the body has to prepare and rise to a challenge or a threat when stress theories focus on the sources, reactions and coping in relation to stress (Rabin, Feldman & Kapan, 1999). Employees, working in the healthcare and human services industry, like other professionals in other fields, are affected by stress in relatively different ways and in their places of work. In relation to this, the outcome objectives will involve an assessment of the workload that these employees are subjected to, the kind of patient-relted difficulties they face in their workplace settings and the function that organizational processes and structures play in, and their contribution to stress. Others will revolve around whether the lack of resources such as poor physical working conditions, conflicts with other professionals in the workplace, home-work conflicts and feelings of professional self-doubt contribute to stress.

The measurement for stress will be carried out as a way to ensure that the causes of stress can be effectively dealt with, considering the potential for negative outcomes, especially for patients. My agency uses the Mental Health Occupational Stress Scale (MHPSS), a 42-item standardized measure specifically designed for mental health professionals, with seven subscales. The subscales include client-related difficulties, workload, relation and conflicts with other professionals, organizational structure and processes, home-work conflict and lack of resources. These are all factors that contribute to workplace stress with regards to mental health professionals and, therefore, the best comprehensive tool in measuring stress among these healthcare service providers (Cushway, Tyler & Nolan, 1996). The research design that will be utilized will be the one-group pre-test, post-test experimental treatment which is characterized by minimal control, no external validity as well as minimal internal validity.

The design has more structure compared to other forms of experimental treatmment, comprised of a single selected group under observation. In addition, careful measurement is done before the application of the experimental treatment, followed by measurement, with the design controlling only for the selection of subject and experimental mortality. In time for evaluation, the data will be collected through a survey, involving the answering of a questionnaire. The selected population sample will involve a group of 18 people from a healthcare firm with intensive work assignments for its employees who will be given the Mental Health Occupational Stress Scale. Studies identify poor management and supervision as well as lack of managerial support as some of the main stressors with regards to stress levels of mental health professionals (Christina & Konstantinos, 2009).

This will be done in a cycle of a duration spanning two weeks, for six to eight months where the outcome objectives will be re-assessed in light of new collected information and evidence. The threats to internal validity are tied to the measurement tool include the choice of the people chosen in the representative sample; as old associates in the chosen firm will have learnt to adapt to everyday workplace stress and, therefore, skewed results. Other factors include the personality or internal factors of the some subjects of the sample chosen as some may be naturally accustomed to dealing with stressful situations and, thus, the results will not show the impact of stress on them and its consequences.

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