Although occupational stress is costly, research on the economic costs of occupational stress in the Asian context remains scarce. This study aims to identify and validate common job stressors and estimate their economic costs in Hong Kong. The role of positive emotions in alleviating the economic costs of job stressors is also examined. The findings obtained from five focus group discussions and a survey (N = 2032) validated five common job stressors: job insecurity; quantitative workload; organizational constraints; interpersonal conflicts; and work/home interface. The annual cost of absenteeism, presenteeism, and medical expenses attributed to job stressors ranged from HK$549.32 million to HK$858.28 million, HK$1.37 billion to HK$2.15 billion, and HK$3.38 billion to HK$11.89 billion respectively. The total annual economic cost of occupational stress, estimated by combining the costs of absenteeism, presenteeism, and medical expenses, was approximately HK$5.30 billion to HK$14.89 billion. Positive emotions were found to be negatively correlated with presenteeism and could buffer the negative impact of job stressors on absenteeism. The theoretical contributions and practical implications of this study are discussed.
Biography of speaker
Prof. Oi-ling SIU
Lam Woo & Co Ltd Chair Professor of Applied Psychology,
Professor Siu Oi Ling’s research interests are in Occupational Health Psychology, specifically occupational stress, psychology of safety and work-life balance. Professor Siu also conducts research in Environmental Psychology and Psychology of Ageing. She is the Editor of International Journal of Stress Management and Associate Editor of Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. In the past few years, Professor Siu has been awarded many RGC's GRF (previously Earmarked Research Grants), National Natural Science Foundation (China), Australian Research Council, Quality Education Fund, and research grants by the Occupational Safety & Health Council.
Professor Siu has built up an impressive track record of work in the fields of occupational stress and work-family interface. The sole Chinese scholar recognised by the Work and Family Researchers Network as a 2018 Top 50 Overall Contributor to Work Family Research, she has also completed an Occupational Safety and Health Council project in 2019, which revealed the substantial cost of occupational stress to Hong Kong’s economy.