How even mild stress can take its toll on workers

Jane Kirby

Even mild stress can lead to people being unable to work, research suggests.

Mild stress increases by 70pc the chance somebody will be on disability payments for physical problems, and more than doubles the likelihood they will have a psychiatric condition.

The study, by experts at the University of Bristol and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, found a "strong graded relationship between increasing levels of psychological distress and the likelihood of being awarded a new disability pension within five years".

More than a quarter of disability pensions awarded to those in the Swedish study were for a physical problem linked to stress. The authors said the link between stress and a diagnosis of a physical problem may be down to the way stress affects the body.

However, it could also be that stigma surrounding mental health issues leads some doctors and patients to prefer a physical "label" for the problem.