Unhealthy Work: Causes, Consequences, Cures, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Unhealthy Work

Causes, Consequences, Cures, 1st Edition

By Peter L. Schnall, Marnie Dobson, Ellen Rosskam, Ray H. Elling


364 pages

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Work, so fundamental to well-being, has its darker and more costly side. Work can adversely affect our health, well beyond the usual counts of injuries that we think of as 'occupational health'. The ways in which work is organized - its pace and intensity, degree of control over the work process, sense of justice, and employment security, among other things - can be as toxic to the health of workers as the chemicals in the air. These work characteristics can be detrimental not only to mental well-being but to physical health. Scientists refer to these features of work as 'hazards' of the 'psychosocial' work environment. One key pathway from the work environment to illness is through the mechanism of stress; thus we speak of 'stressors' in the work environment, or 'work stress'. This is in contrast to the popular psychological understandings of 'stress', which locate many of the problems with the individual rather than the environment. In this book we advance a social environmental understanding of the workplace and health. The book addresses this topic in three parts: the important changes taking place in the world of work in the context of the global economy (Part I); scientific findings on the effects of particular forms of work organization and work stressors on employees' health, 'unhealthy work' as a major public health problem, and estimates of costs to employers and society (Part II); and, case studies and various approaches to improve working conditions, prevent disease, and improve health (Part III).

Table of Contents


Introduction—Chapter 1

Beyond the Individual: Connecting Work Environment and Health

Deborah R. Gordon and Peter L. Schnall


CHAPTER 2 Economic Globalization and Its Effects on Labor

Chrisy Moutsatsos

CHAPTER 3 The Growing Imbalance: Class, Work, and Health in an Era of Increasing Inequality

Jeffrey V. Johnson

CHAPTER 4 The Changing Nature of Work in Canada and Other Developed Countries: What Do the Trends Over Time Tell Us?

Peter Smith and John Frank

CHAPTER 5 The Changing Nature of Work in the United States

Edward Yelin


CHAPTER 6 The Workplace and Cardiovascular Disease

Paul A. Landsbergis, Peter L. Schnall, and Marnie Dobson

CHAPTER 7 From Stress to Distress: The Impact of Work on Mental Health

Marnie Dobson and Peter L. Schnall

CHAPTER 8 Work, Ethnicity, and Health in California

Haiou Yang

CHAPTER 9 Work, Psychosocial Stressors, and the Bottom Line

Maritza Jauregui and Peter L. Schnall


CHAPTER 10 Stakeholder Perspectives on Work and Stress: Seeking Common Ground

Deborah R. Gordon, Maritza Jauregui, and Peter L. Schnall

CHAPTER 11 Interventions to Reduce Job Stress and Improve Work Organization and Worker Health

Paul A. Landsbergis

CHAPTER 12 Using Participatory Action Research Methodology to Improve Worker Health

Ellen Rosskam

CHAPTER 13 The MUNI Health and Safety Project: A 26-Year Union-Management Research Collaboration

Ray Antonio, June Fisher, and Ellen Rosskam

CHAPTER 14 Organizing and Collaborating to Reduce Hotel Workers' Injuries

Mike Casey and Ellen Rosskam

CHAPTER 15 The Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund: Combating Worker Exploitation and Unfair Competition through Collective Action with Responsible Employers

Lilia García

CHAPTER 16 Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the Twenty-First Century

Dean Baker, Marnie Dobson, and Peter L. Schnall

CHAPTER 17 Emotional Labor and the Pursuit of Happiness

Stephen Lloyd Smith

CHAPTER 18 Measuring the Protection of Workers' Health: A National Work Security Index

Ellen Rosskam


CHAPTER 19 Curing Unhealthy Work

Peter L. Schnall, Marnie Dobson, Ellen Rosskam, and Paul Landsbergis


About the Series

Critical Approaches in the Health Social Sciences Series

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health