n South African Journal of Higher Education - How do academics handle their job-related stress?




Academics at tertiary institutions often reflect on the emotional impact their profession has on them and they mention tension, anxiety and stress. Research on stress has indicated that people in the helping professions dealing with people, especially those in the teaching professions, are particularly prone to emotional distress. Yet information regarding the stress-related emotions specifically experienced by academic lecturers at institutions of Higher Education is not abundant. Factors such as the current rapid social and political transformation in South Africa, as well as the emphasis on efficiency, downsizing, and short-term contracts in the workplace, all contribute to feelings of insecurity and stress in the academic context. The interesting relation between cognitive intelligence (including rationality) and emotional intelligence, becomes the thrust of this article, with specific reference to the role of job-related emotions. The purpose of the quantitative research that serves as the empirical basis for this article was an explorative investigation into aspects of stress among academics in the Nelson Mandela Metropole and its impact on their functioning.


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