Psychological Harm in Stressful Environment

This literature review examines the article «An Assessment of Employer Liability for Workplace Stress» written by Lockwood, Henderson, and Stansfield in 2017 to research the development of harmful consequences of experiencing stress at work. The issue of a stressful working environment is exceptionally widespread today, with stress-related illnesses and disorders earned by employees even being brought to court. The reaction of authorities to workers’ complaints indicates that the claimants indeed had severe psychological injuries. Individual precedents and their results observed in Lockwood et al.’s article can be used to examine the spread of stressful environments and the development of employer’s liability regarding their worker’s mental state.

Data on the types of stress disorders and categories of claimants is essential for building an overview of people who suffer from mental issues at work. Lockwood et al. (2017) provide findings from the legal record about the nature of workplace stress claims and state that the most common complaints were related to clinical depression, mental breakdown, and anxiety issues. This information is significant for the study since it allows identifying and analyzing the circumstances causing stress. The study also provides statistics on the gender distribution of claims and claimants’ allegations. It is concerning because although men surpass women in the percentage of claims, women are more likely to require psychiatric treatment during their lifetime (Lockwood et al., 2017). A controversial data is given on the occupation fields of the complaints: different sources prove either healthcare or welfare and housing associate professionals being the most prone to stress (Lockwood et al., 2017). The article, however, does not provide any information on the age distribution of the workers that might be significant to understand generational tendencies for psychological complaints. Nevertheless, the overview of claimants in the article is sufficient for describing an average «victim» of workplace stress.

Another vital part of the examination is the analysis of the outcomes of the claims and general reaction to them. Since the main subject of the study is identifying factors causing harm in a stressful environment, it should be defined how the «victims» acknowledged their state. Lockwood et al. (2017) mention a controversy between the employee’s desire to conceal his mental state from managers and colleagues and its detrimental impact on the possibility of receiving help. With this in mind, it can be noted that workers tend to hide or suppress their disorders, which presumably deteriorates anxiety and adds the fear of being disclosed. Additionally, claiming psychological harm has different hurdles, such as the inability to justify the sufficiency of the harm and the lack of the possibility to foresee a breakdown (Lockwood et al., 2017). Most cases where employees proved their mental injuries were supported by clinical diagnoses, meaning they were already in a dangerous neurotic state. These examples are helpful since they demonstrate the need to reform corporate rules, for example, establish counseling services for employees. Although these findings do not provide casual links between claims and outcomes, they allow one to understand all the circumstances around workplace-related stress.

To summarize, Lockwood et al.’s paper is a decent basis for researching the topic of psychological harm of a stressful working environment. This subject is widespread today, so there is enough data on the general categories of people who suffer from work-related stress. The conditions of claims and their general consequences are also extensively observed. Despite the article lacking age distribution data or specific examples of improvements, it offers an opportunity to suggest and predict further solutions to this problem.


Lockwood, G., Henderson, C., & Stansfeld, S. (2017). An assessment of employer liability for workplace stress. International Journal of Law and Management, 59(2), 202-216. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Psychological Harm in Stressful Environment'. 5 January.


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PsychologyWriting. "Psychological Harm in Stressful Environment." January 5, 2023.