Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Psychology


The more traditional descriptive methodologies used in stress research invariably disregard or discount the importance of the personal meaning assigned to sources of intrinsic and extrinsic stress in the stressor to strain process (Payne, Jabri & Pearson, 1988). This practice, therefore, may account for the consistent inability of descriptive stress inventories to explain more than a moderate percentage of the variance in strain. This empirical thesis, therefore, has sought to explore the hypothesis that the nature of the personal meaning assigned to sources of occupational stress explains variance in strain beyond that explained by the person's description (i.e., recognition) of conmion work stressors. Specifically, it sought to demonstrate that self-report measurement of the personal meaning assigned to sources of stress in terms of expectancy, valence, belief and personal desirability enables a significant improvement in the prediction and understanding of occupational stress. In addition, it explores the relative importance of (a) personality dispositions (i.e., cognitive styles) and coping methods in the stressor to strain process; and (b) the ability of physical, psychological and composite measures of strain to capture the nature of the transactional process underlying occupational stress.