Job stress refers to the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury.
The concept of job stress is often confused with challenge, but these concepts are not the same. Challenge is an important ingredient for healthy and productive work. It energizes us psychologically and physically, and it motivates us to learn new skills and master our jobs. When we face a challenge and handle it well, we feel relaxed and satisfied. The importance of challenge in our work lives is probably what people are referring to colloquially when they say, "a little bit of stress is good for you.” In reality, while challenge can be good for personal growth, stress is never good by any measure. One form of stress under investigation at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is job strain, which occurs when high job demands combine with low job control.