Workplace Stress and Productivity: A Cross-Sectional Study


  • Tina Bui, M.D.
  • Rosey Zackula, M.A.
  • Katelyn Dugan, MS-3
  • Elizabeth Ablah, Ph.D., MPH



worksite, workplace, stress, productivity, gender


INTRODUCTION. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between workplace stress and productivity among employees from worksites participating in a WorkWell KS Well-Being workshop and assess any differences by gender and race.

METHODS. A multi-site, cross-sectional study was conducted to survey employees across four worksites participating in a WorkWell KS Well Being workshop to assess levels of stress and productivity. Stress was measured by the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and productivity was measured by the Health and Work Questionnaire (HWQ). Pearson correlations were conducted to measure the association between stress and productivity scores. T-tests evaluated differences in scores by gender and race.

RESULTS. Of the 186 participants who completed the survey, most reported being white (94%), female (85%), married (80%), and having a college degree (74%). A significant inverse relationship was observed between the scores for PSS and HWQ, r = -0.35, p < 0.001; as stress increased, productivity appeared to decrease. Another notable inverse relationship was PSS with Work Satisfaction subscale, r = -0.61, p < 0.001. One difference was observed by gender- males scored significantly higher on the HWQ Supervisor Relations subscale compared with females, 8.4 (2.1) vs. 6.9 (2.7), respectively, p = 0.005.

CONCLUSIONS. Scores from PSS and the HWQ appeared to be inversely correlated; higher stress scores were significantly associated with lower productivity scores. This negative association was observed for all HWQ subscales, but was especially strong for work satisfaction. This study also suggests that males may have better supervisor relations compared with females, although no gender differences were observed by perceived levels of stress.


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Original Research

How to Cite

Bui, T., Zackula, R., Dugan, K., & Ablah, E. (2021). Workplace Stress and Productivity: A Cross-Sectional Study. Kansas Journal of Medicine, 14(1).