Book Review: Stress: Myth, Theory and Research
Jones, F., Bright, J. (2001). Stress – Myth, Theory and Research. Pearson Education Limited. ISBN: 0-130-41189-2.
The sub-title of this book clearly outlines the scope of this wide-ranging study of stress. The authors, Bright from Australia and Jones from the UK, together with a range of other contributors, are experts in the field.
Divided into five parts, each containing two or three extensive sub-sections, the book also contains a detailed index.
Starting from the question What is Stress?, moving through consideration of its effects and why different people handle stress differently to two chapters focusing on stress at work, it concludes with Stress Reduction Strategies containing a brief overview of current research.
As the authors state in the preface, so much research has been done into stress that one book cannot hope to provide a comprehensive review of related literature; thus this book introduces issues which they believe are central to gaining a basic understanding of the concept of stress.
While myth shares equal billing with theory and research in the title, this book is an academic study encompassing a range of theoretical approaches: psychological, emotional and physiological. A strong recommendation for this book is the recency of the theorists cited.
The section looking at stress at work is of particular contemporary interest, with its focus on the work/home life balance: the possible effects of work on home life and vice versa. It also puts the spotlight on the impact of work on an individual’s family and partner relationships.
The book ends with a brief glossary and a very broad reference list covering 42 pages, providing a wealth of sources for further reading.
While not an easy read, this book provides a valuable resource for a range of professionals; as the authors state:
Stress has become an issue which affects nearly every part of our lives, having an impact on our work, health and personal relationships. At the same time it remains a controversial phenomenon. Despite the high profile it has in the media and the public consciousness, there are many who consider stress a problematic term which has been used indiscriminately to describe a wide range of very different symptoms and problems.
Reading the book will certainly provide considerable food for thought; having it on the bookshelf will offer a comprehensive reference for information on stress.