Coping styles influence levels of stress. This study examines how workers cope with hazards at work and whether unions help workers cope more effectively with those hazards. We surveyed 237 workers at a chemical plant in Louisiana and found that perceived exposure to fire and explosions at work increased workers' levels of anxiety. Problem-focused strategies to cope with those potential risks reduced anxiety and depression. Aside from supervisory or managerial authority, which is not available to most workers, we found that only one factor effectively moves workers who are in subordinate positions to actively cope with hazards: membership in an independent labor union. These findings suggest that union growth could indirectly reduce job stress by giving workers the voice to cope effectively with job hazards.


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pp. 83-106
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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