nl en

Work and Stress


Important Note

  • All Semester II bachelor and master psychology courses and examinations (2020-2021) will be offered in an on-line format.

  • If it is safe and possible to do so, supplementary course meetings may be planned on-campus. However, attendance at these meetings will not be required to successfully complete Semester II courses.

  • All obligatory work groups and examinations will be offered on-line during Central European Time, which is local time in the Netherlands.

  • Information on the mode of instruction and the assessment method per course will be offered in Brightspace, considering the possibilities that are available at that moment. The information in Brightspace is leading during the Corona crisis, even if this does not match the information in the Prospectus.

Entry requirements

Only open to master’s students in Psychology with specialisation Occupational Health Psychology.


This course focuses on the role of workplace factors in employee health and well-being. Both potential negative consequences, i.e. mental and physical health problems (i.e. burnout, coronary heart disease), and positive consequences (i.e. work engagement, personal growth/learning) will be addressed. A series of lectures introduces students to the most important occupational stress theories (e.g., Job-Demand-Control-Support model, Effort-Reward Imbalance model). Empirical research regarding the impact of work factors on mental and physical health is discussed, taking into account methodological issues in this area of research.

After these lectures, sessions will entail presentations prepared by the students themselves on a contemporary issue in the work and stress field. Regarding the topic, students may put forward own suggestions, or choose a topic from an existing list (e.g., bullying, job insecurity, work-family conflict, burnout, ‘flow’). In order to ensure active involvement and participation in the discussion, students will read key publications and send in questions based on these publications before each presentation session. Finally, students write a short paper (mini-review) answering a specific question related to their presentation topic.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  • have scientific up to date knowledge on the impact of work factors on employee health and well-being, and on prominent occupational stress theories;

  • • be able to prepare and give an informative, scientific presentation in English on an occupational stress topic; and

  • be able to write a short paper (mini-review) answering a specific question regarding an occupational stress topic on the basis of scientific literature.

In their future role as occupational health psychologists they will be able to draw on the key knowledge gathered regarding the relationship between work factors and employee health and well-being. Furthermore, in their professional role they may regularly be asked to provide a concise state-of-the-art perspective on an occupational stress topic to employers. Finally, in both their practical work and their research in the area of occupational health they will benefit from the critical approach to research developed during this course.


For the timetables of your lectures, work groups and exams, please select your study programme in: Psychology timetables




Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Master’s course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

This course consists of:

  • Three 3-hour interactive lectures;

  • Six student presentations and discussion sessions (three 3-hour and three 2-hour sessions);

  • Individual feedback on draft of presentation and on draft of paper.

Attendance is mandatory for all sessions.

Assessment method

The final grade is based on: the oral presentation (40% of the grade), the individual paper (50% of the grade), and quality of questions sent in (preparation for the presentation sessions) (10% of the grade). Note: both the presentation and the paper should be minimally graded 5.5 to pass the course.

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

Leka, S. & Houdmont, J. (Eds.) (2010) Occupational Health Psychology. Chichester. UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 10 (note: this book will also be used in the course ’Interventions in Occupational Health’)

Ganster, D.C. & Rosen, C.C. (2013). Work stress and employee health: A multidisciplinary review. Journal of Management, 39(5), 1085-1122.

Sonnentag, S. & Frese, M. (2012). Stress in organizations. In I.B. Weiner, N. Schmitt, & S. Highhouse (Eds.), Handbook of Psychology (Vol. 12: Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Chapter 21, pp. 560-592). London: Wiley.

Further readings will be announced via Blackboard. Exemplary literature includes:

  • Bakker, A.B., Schaufeli, W.B., Leiter, M.P., & Taris, T.W. (2008). Work engagement: An emerging concept in occupational health psychology. Work and Stress, 22, 187-200.

  • Costa, G. (2010). Shift Work and Health: Current Problems and Preventive Actions. Safety and Health at Work, 1(2), 112-123.

  • Declercq, F., Meganck, R., Deheegher, J., et al. (2011). Frequency of and subjective response to critical incidents in the prediction of PTSD in emergency personnel. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24(1), 133-136.

  • Ferrie, J.E., Kivimaki, M., Shipley, M.J., Davey Smith, G. & Virtanen, M. (2013). Job insecurity and incident coronary heart disease: The Whitehall II prospective cohort study. Atherosclerosis, 227(1), 178-81.

  • Maslach, C. (2008). Early predictors of job burnout and engagement. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(3), 498.

  • Nielsen, M B, & Einarsen, S. (2012). Outcomes of exposure to workplace bullying: A meta-analytic review. Work and Stress, 26(4), 309-332.

  • Siegrist, J & Li, J. (2016). Associations of extrinsic and intrinsic components of work stress with health: a systematic review of evidence on the Effort-Reward Imbalance model. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(4), article number 432.

  • Sonnentag, S. & Fritz, C. (2015). Recovery from job stress: The stressor-detachment model as an integrative framework. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 36(S1), S72-S103.

Contact information

Dr. Margot van der Doef