That workplace stress exists and impacts on individual, organizational, and societal health is a commonly known fact. Stress has a significant economic impact on individuals and organizations (Danna and Griffin, 1999). Yet, if people perceive themselves as having the resources they require to meet the challenges they experience, they may suffer fewer negative consequences following exposure to said challenges, be they physiological or psychological (see Ganster and Fusilier, 1989). Coping has been described as an individual's ability to deal with stressful organizational situations, and been considered the variable that, in relation to its effectiveness, determines the degree of negative physiological and psychological consequences experienced (Bhagat et al., 2001; Lazarus and Folkman, 1984). The coping styles that individuals use in responding to experienced challenges are related to specific organizational aspects such as job satisfaction (Bhagat, Allie, and Ford, 1995), and general well-being (Greenglass, 1996). In every industry or profession, prescriptive regulatory systems and guidelines shape the meaning individuals attach to their work (Aneshensel, 1992; Lai, Chan, Ko, and Boey, 2000; Pearlin, 1999). In turn, this meaning may be expected to inform employees’ perceptions of work, influencing how they approach experienced challenges and accept certain coping strategies.
Work represents a unique context regarding the study of stress and coping (Brief and George, 1991), when compared to, for example, coping as found among hospital patients or professional athletes.