Continued from previous page.​

Sources of stress

The Department of Psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital, a member of the SingHealth​​ group, shares some predictable and unpredictable sources of stress.

​​​ Predictable stressors

The following are some examples of predictable stressors:


While work can provide immense satisfaction, it can also bring about stress. Examples of factors that can cause stress at work include 

  1. lack of control over work environment, 
  2. too much work and too little time, 
  3. inability to master new technology, 
  4. threat of retrenchment, 
  5. unc​lear goals, 
  6. lack of feedback regarding job performance and 
  7. unsupportive bosses.


Financial stress can result from 

  1. economic recession, 
  2. inflation, 
  3. high prices for housing, 
  4. inability to pay mortgage or medical bills, and 
  5. being unemployed.

Family problems

Family problems can also give rise to stress. Some common family problems are 

  1. marital conflicts, 
  2. disobedient children, 
  3. being apart from spouse who is working overseas, 
  4. in-law issues, 
  5. difficult neighbours, 
  6. children who get into trouble with the law, 
  7. spouse who is addicted to alcohol.

Unpredictable stressors

Some stressors may not be predictable, for example

  1. illness of spouse, 
  2. death of spouse, 
  3. meeting with an accident or traumatic event, and 
  4. being retrenched.

Life events

There has been considerable research demonstrating the impact of life events on physical and mental disorders. Two researchers, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, observed that life events tended to cluster or increase in intensity prior to the onset of disease. They have found that death of spouse ranks as the most stressful event followed by divorce and separation.

However, there are life eve​nts like marriage, moving house and having a baby, which are of neutral impact. But even these neutral events may be stressful, for instance, if the baby falls sick, or when the newlywed couple has difficulty adjusting to life together. Some positive events such as getting promoted at work may have an adverse effect as promotion means increase in responsibili​ties, and jealousy from colleagues.

See previous page to learn why some levels of stress is good for you​.

See next page to find out how perceptions can affect your stress levels.

​​Ref: M19