There are questions concerning the extent to which individual differences, that is variation in factors such as personality and attitudes, are responsible for the incidence of stress-related illness and reporting of stress-related problems through questionnaires and other monitoring procedures In the first part of this research, we conducted a meta-analysis on longitudinal studies of ill-health, work conditions and individual differences. Results indicate that both individual differences and work conditions are associated with increases in ill-health. By concentrating on the best possible longitudinal research, this meta-analysis provides some of the strongest evidence to date that both adverse work conditions and individual differences can cause stress-related illness.
In the next part of the research, we examined existing representative data-bases of the United Kingdom population. We found individual differences that influence stress-related illness to be different between genders, age groups, socio-economic groups and occupational groups, indicating differences in risk of experiencing and reporting stress-related illness amongst these groups.