Exploring the internal dimensions of work stress: Evidence from construction cost estimators in China

Bo Xiong, Martin Skitmore, Bo Xia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


A recurring feature of modern practice is the stress placed on project professionals, with both debilitating effects on the people concerned and indirectly affecting project success. Cost estimation, for example, is an essential task for successful project management involving a high level of uncertainty. It is not surprising, therefore, that young cost estimators especially can become stressful at work due to a lack of experience and the heavy responsibilities involved. However, the concept of work stress and the associated underlying dimensions has not been clearly defined in extant studies in the construction management field. To redress this situation, an updated psychology perceived stress questionnaire (PSQ), first developed by Levenstein et al (1993) and revised by Fliege et al (2005), is used to explore the dimensions of work stress with empirical evidence from the construction industry in China. With 145 reliable responses from young (less than 5 years' experience) Chinese cost estimators, this study explores the internal dimensions of work stress, identifying four dimensions of tension, demands, lack of joy and worries. It is suggested that this four-dimensional structure may also be applicable in a more general context.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 30th Annual ARCOM Conference, 1-3 September 2014
EditorsA. Raiden, E. Aboagye-Nimo
Place of PublicationPortsmouth, UK
PublisherAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780955239083
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


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