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Work-related stress and cognitive enhancement among university teachers


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Background: Working conditions of academic staff have become increasingly complex and occupational exposure has risen. This study investigates whether work-related stress is associated with the use of prescription drugs for cognitive enhancement (CE). Methods: The study was designed around three web-based surveys (n1 = 1131; n2 = 936; n3 = 906) to which university teachers at four German universities were asked to respond. It assessed past CE-drug use and the willingness to use CE-drugs as factors influencing future use. Overlap among participants across the surveys allowed for analyses of stability of the results across time. Results: Our study suggests a currently very low prevalence of CE-drug use as well as a low willingness to use such drugs. The results showed a strong association between perceptions of work-related stress and all measures of CE-drug use (when controlling for potential confounding factors). They also showed that past use of CE-drugs increased participants' willingness to use them again in the future, as did lower levels of social support. Two different measures showed that participants' moral qualms against the use of CE-drugs decreased their probability of using them. Conclusions: The results increase our knowledge about the prevalence of CE-drug use and our understanding of what motivates and inhibits the use of CE-drug.
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Work-related stress and cognitive
enhancement among university
Constantin Wiegelab, Sebastian Sattlerbcd, Anja S. Göritze & Martin
a International Institute for Empirical Social Economics,
Stadtbergen, Germany
b Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
c Institute for Sociology and Social Psychology, University of
Cologne, Cologne, Germany
d Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social
Sciences, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
e Department of Psychology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg,
Accepted author version posted online: 09 Mar 2015.Published
online: 10 Apr 2015.
To cite this article: Constantin Wiegel, Sebastian Sattler, Anja S. Göritz & Martin Diewald (2015):
Work-related stress and cognitive enhancement among university teachers, Anxiety, Stress, &
Coping: An International Journal, DOI: 10.1080/10615806.2015.1025764
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Work-related stress and cognitive enhancement among
university teachers
Constantin Wiegel
, Sebastian Sattler
*, Anja S. Göritz
and Martin Diewald
International Institute for Empirical Social Economics, Stadtbergen, Germany;
Faculty of
Sociology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany;
Institute for Sociology and Social Psychology,
University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany;
Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics
and Social Sciences, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany;
Department of Psychology,
University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
(Received 2 February 2013; accepted 1 March 2015)
Background: Working conditions of academic staff have become increasingly complex
and occupational exposure has risen. This study investigates whether work-related stress
is associated with the use of prescription drugs for cognitive enhancement (CE).
Methods: The study was designed around three web-based surveys (n
= 1131; n
= 936;
= 906) to which university teachers at four German universities were asked to respond.
It assessed past CE-drug use and the willingness to use CE-drugs as factors influencing
future use. Overlap among participants across the surveys allowed for analyses of
stability of the results across time. Results: Our study suggests a currently very low
prevalence of CE-drug use as well as a low willingness to use such drugs. The results
showed a strong association between perceptions of work-related stress and all measures
of CE-drug use (when controlling for potential confounding factors). They also showed
that past use of CE-drugs increased participantswillingness to use them again in the
future, as did lower levels of social support. Two different measures showed that
participantsmoral qualms against the use of CE-drugs decreased their probability of
using them. Conclusions: The results increase our knowledge about the prevalence of
CE-drug use and our understanding of what motivates and inhibits the use of CE-drug.
Keywords: work-related stress; cognitive enhancement; non-medical use of prescrip-
tion drugs; moral perceptions; social support; drug instrumentalization
Working conditions in academia have become increasingly complicated, and academics
perceive their work as increasingly stressful (Barkhuizen, Rothmann, & van de Vijver,
2014; Kataoka, Ozawa, Tomotake, Tanioka, & King, 2014; Mark & Smith, 2012). In
Germany, half of full-time professors and about a third of non-professorial staff describe
their job as very stressful(Jakob & Teichler, 2011). Similar findings exist for other
countries (e.g., Winefield & Jarrett, 2001). But despite this, research on work-related
stress and coping strategies in academia is scarce (Abouserie, 1996; Brown et al., 1986;
Hogan, Carlson, & Dua, 2002). Our study aims therefore to examine the use of cognitive
enhancement (CE) drugs as a response to work-related stress.
*Corresponding author. Email:
Constantin Wiegel and Sebastian Sattler contributed equally to the manuscript.
Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 2015
© 2015 Taylor & Francis
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CE can be defined as the augmentation of cognitive performance without medical
indication (Bostrom & Sandberg, 2009; Glannon, 2008; Normann & Berger, 2008). One
frequently discussed means of CE is pharmaceuticals, especially prescription drugs,
which are investigated here. Other pharmaceuticals that are used for CE include over-the-
counter and illegal drugs (e.g., Eickenhorst, Klapp, & Groneberg, 2012; Middendorff,
Poskowsky, & Isserstedt, 2012). These are not investigated here. Prescription drugs
potentially used to enhance cognitive capacities such as memory or attention include
methylphenidate, amphetaminedextroamphetamine, donepezil, and modafinil (e.g.,
Greely et al., 2008).
With the exception of a few anecdotal reports of professors using modafinil to
enhance productivity or reduce jetlag, little is known about the use of CE-drugs among
academic staff (Sahakian & Morein-Zamir, 2007).
The use of CE-drugs is not without risks, including side effects and long-term health
consequences, such as headaches, high blood pressure, cardiac dysrhythmia, depression,
and addiction (e.g., Greely et al., 2008; Winder-Rhodes et al., 2010). Self-medication
with such drugs can pose increased risks due to the unknown dosage for healthy
individuals, the dangers of counterfeit drugs, and the potentially dangerous combining of
different substances (e.g., Maher, 2008; Sussman, Pentz, Spruijt-Metz, & Miller, 2006).
The present research seeks to understand self-medication with CE-drugs to enhance
cognitive performance by applying a decision-making approach (Gibbons, Gerrard,
Blanton, & Russell, 1998; Gibbons, Houlihan, & Gerrard, 2009; Sattler, Sauer,
Mehlkop, & Graeff, 2013; Sattler & Wiegel, 2013). In seeking to achieve their goals,
individuals face personal and social constraints that facilitate or impede goal attainment.
Similar assumptions can also be found in the Self-Medication Hypothesis (West, 2005),
which posits that individuals intentionally choose (addictive) drugs in order to reduce
cognitive interference or to deal with certain deficits or psychological problems while
nonetheless bearing in mind the negative aspects of such self-medication (Khantzian,
1997). This hypothesis has been also discussed in the context of CE, since individuals
intentionally enhance their cognitive performance through self-medication while taking into
account the potential health risks (Sattler et al., 2013; Sattler & Wiegel, 2013).
The discussion of instrumentalized psychoactive drug use in which drug use is seen as
afunctional adaption to modern environments(Müller & Schumann, 2011) and as a
means of coping with demands (cf. Crutchfield & Gove, 1984)has been applied to CE-
drug use as well (Sattler et al., 2013; Sattler & Wiegel, 2013). For university teachers, stress
is often a function of the pressure to balance teaching load, research, and administrative
duties within a limited amount of time (Brown et al., 1986). Recently, decreasing job
security, university reorganization, higher self-expectations, and more pressure to secure
funding have also contributed to stress (Hogan et al., 2002; Mark & Smith, 2012; Thorsen,
1996). Current university jobs are comparable to jobs in the business world in their constant
demand for a high level of cognitive and physical performance, whereby employees often
lack time to recover from these pressures (Müller & Schumann, 2011; Weber & Jaekel-
Reinhard, 2000). Consequently, the use of CE-drugs with the aim of reducing fatigue or
increasing mental alertness for work purposes, for example, might be seen as a potentially
beneficial self-medicating answer to difficulties(Crutchfield & Gove, 1984, p. 503).
Drug users might use medication to prolong or re-establish desired mental states, such as
feeling alert or being able to focus even after long periods of work (Müller & Schumann,
2011). As work performance suffers due to stress, and individuals attempt to minimize or
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avoid this undesirable effect, we expect CE-drug use to increase accordingly in response.
This expectation is supported by studies of other populations in which stressful working
conditions have been associated with the use of substances such as alcohol and illicit and
prescription drugs (Martin, Blum, & Roman, 1992; Zhang & Snizek, 2003). Accordingly,
we propose the following hypothesis (H):
work-related stress
: The higher the self-perceived work-related stress, the higher the likelihood
of using CE-drugs.
In addition to the relationship between work-related stress and CE-drug use, we also
investigated other factors that might be related to CE-drug use or used for coping with
stress. Based on previous research and theoretical reasoning, we tested several hypotheses
related to the following factors:
Prior CE-drug use: While some people may experiment with drugs only once, others
continue using them for a variety of reasons, such as having had a positive experience (cf.
Müller & Schumann, 2011). Previous research has shown that prior CE-drug use makes
subsequent use more likely (cf. Sattler & Wiegel, 2013) and that prior CE-drug use is
associated with a higher willingness to use CE-drugs again (Sattler, Mehlkop, Graeff, &
Sauer, 2014). The latter finding is consistent with the Theory of Planned Behavior
(Beck & Ajzen, 1991; Ouellette & Wood, 1998), which postulates that past behavior
predicts intentions and future behavior. It can be assumed that CE-drug users have
already reached a decision that corresponds to their preferences, and that decisions are
also influenced by other factors, such as lack of self-control (Beck & Ajzen, 1991; Nagin
& Pogarsky, 2001). If these factors are stable over time, they should continue to affect
subsequent choices similarly. The influence of prior use may be due to the role of
experience and habituation and/or to unobserved characteristics related to a willingness to
use drugs. Moreover, if a CE-drug users expectations of a drugs effects are confirmed,
this behavior might be engaged in repeatedly without additional deliberation (Ouellette &
Wood, 1998). There is also evidence that CE-drug users perceive the side effects of such
substances to be less severe than non-users do (Sattler & Wiegel, 2013). We propose the
following hypothesis:
prior CE-drug use
: Prior CE-drug use increases the likelihood of repeated CE-drug use.
Moral perceptions: Scholars have discussed whether the use of performance-enhancing
medication is an unfair means of achieving success (Bostrom & Sandberg, 2009; Farah
et al., 2004; Greely et al., 2008). Studies have found that many people perceive CE-drug
use as morally problematic, as a form of cheating that not only disadvantages others, but
also puts pressure on them to use such drugs as well (Bell, Partridge, Lucke, & Hall,
2013; Forlini & Racine, 2009). Several studies (Ajzen, 1991; Bachman, Paternoster, &
Ward, 1992; Beck & Ajzen, 1991; Bishop, 1984) have shown that moral perceptions have
a strong impact on decision-making and subsequent behavior. Such moral perceptions can
be seen as internal controls(Cochran, Chamlin, Wood, & Sellers, 1999). They
can threaten individuals with feelings of guilt or shame if they behave immorally
(Grasmick & Bursik, 1990). These threats can be perceived by individuals as costly (e.g.,
in terms of reduced self-esteem or psychological discomfort) and deter them from
choosing morally problematic behavior by reducing its expected utility. Previous research
Anxiety, Stress, & Coping 3
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has found that moral qualms reduced respondentswillingness to take CE-drugs (Riis,
Simmons, & Goodwin, 2008; Sattler et al., 2013,2014). We propose the following
moral perceptions
: The more the use of CE-drugs is perceived as immoral, the less likely
CE-drugs will be used.
Social support: Social support is an important resource that helps people achieve life
goals and deal with the problems of everyday life (House & Kahn, 1985), such as work-
related stress. Several studies report that social support and high quality interactions with
friends and family members help to protect against illicit drug use, alcohol use, and drug
dependency (e.g., Bergen, Gardner, Aggen, & Kendler, 2008; Steptoe, Wardle, Pollard,
Canaan, & Davies, 1996). There are two main types of social support: instrumental
support refers to concrete, tangible assistance in case of material or physical need, and
emotional support provides empathy, concern, and encouragement (House, 1981).
University teachers who perceive themselves as possessing a good deal of social support
might be more successful and satisfied with their lives in general (Cohen & Syme, 1985;
Thoits, 1982) and thus have less incentive to enhance their functioning through CE-drugs.
Social support is also a resource for coping with the demands of everyday life and the
burdens of stressful situations or phases of life. Thus, we assume that CE is a resource or
strategy used to deal with these demands and burdens and thus to compensate for a
deficiency of social support. Accordingly, we hypothesize that university teachers with
low social support are more likely to use CE-drugs than those with high social support:
social support
: Social support decreases the likelihood of CE-drug use.
In summary, in three surveys among German university teachers we test whether higher
work-related stress, prior CE-drug use, lower moral qualms against CE-drug use, and
smaller amount of social support are associated with higher CE-drug use.
For study 1 of our three web-based surveys, we randomly selected four German universities
and 55 academic disciplines from a list provided by the Federal Statistical Office of all
universities and existing academic disciplines. All teachers listed in the respective
university calendars for the current semester were contacted (Table 1). All teachers (still)
listed in the two subsequent semester calendars of the same universities and academic
disciplines were contacted (again) for study 2 (6 months later) and study 3 (12 months
later). The use of the same sampling procedure for the three studies resulted in overlapping
respondents (see below), but due to retirement, job changes, sabbaticals, etc., several
university teachers contacted in study 1 were not contacted for studies 2 and 3, and instead
replaced by new respondents, such as newly hired colleagues.
University teachers received notification letters explaining the purpose of the study
followed by e-mail invitations sent approximately a week later. Up to two e-mail
reminders were sent. The letters explained that participants could choose one of four
rewards (each worth 5 Euro) at the end of the questionnaire (i.e., a payment via
PayPal, a voucher for an online store, a donation to a local charity, or a donation to a
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global charity). The letter, the e-mail invitations, and the first page of the questionnaire
emphasized that participation in the studies was voluntary and anonymous and that
data security was a priority. A data protection officer allocated a token consisting of
six random letters to every teacher. This token was part of a personal survey link,
which was automatically transmitted to our survey software during participation. It
allowed an anonymous linkage of the responses across the three studies. All
procedures were approved by the legal services of Bielefeld University. Since the
respondents were informed about this procedure, participation can be understood as
implied consent.
Similar response rates (comparable to Blix, Cruise, Mitchell, & Blix, 1994; Daniels &
Guppy, 1992) were achieved in all studies (Table 1). In study 1, we have valid responses
for all variables of 1131 respondents, 936 in study 2 and 906 in study 3.
Linking the data from responding university teachers in more than one study
= 429; n
= 364; n
= 372; n
= 219) allowed us to perform tests on
the stability of repeated measures and on the robustness of results across different
Dependent variables
The prevalence of CE-drug use has been reported to be below 5% among German students
(Franke et al., 2011; Sattler & Wiegel, 2013), but the prevalence among university teachers
Table 1. Study characteristics and descriptive information.
Study 1 2 3
Period of data collection 26 August 2010
5 October 2010
8 March 2011
15 April 2011
30 August 2011
16 October 2011
Sample statistics
Number of contacts 3618 3655 3916
Number of respondents 1460 1402 1399
Response rate (%) 40.36 38.36 35.72
Number of analyzed cases 1131 936 906
Dependent variables
CE Willingness-Scale (M; SD) .37 (.90)
CE Willingness-Dummy (Yes, %)
11.86 13.58
Prior CE-drug use (Yes, %) .88%
Independent variables
Work-related stress (M; SD) 2.40 (0.83) 2.53 (.85) 2.49 (.82)
Moral perceptions (version 1; M; SD)
3.65 (2.03)
Moral perceptions (version 2; M; SD)
4.42 (1.33)
Social support (M; SD)
2.54 (.50)
Demographic variables
Female (%) 34.57 35.58 33.33
Age (median)
3640 3640 3640
High status (%) 16.62 21.41 17.00
Medical/health-related disciplines (%) 11.76 12.07 10.82
Not assessed in this study;
ranging from 0 = below 20;1=2025;2=2630;3=3135;4=36
40;5=4145;6=4650;7=5155;8=5660;9=6165;10=6670to 11 = 71 and above.
Anxiety, Stress, & Coping 5
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is unknown. It has been postulated, however, that CE-drug use is increasing (e.g., Castaldi
et al., 2012; Farah et al., 2004). One method of determining whether such a trend exists is
measuring respondentswillingness to use CE-drugs. In research on the use of (licit and
illicit) substances, willingness-measures can be seen as proximal antecedents of future
behavior (Gerrard et al., 2006; Gibbons, Gerrard, Blanton, et al., 1998; Gibbons, Gerrard,
Ouellette, & Burzette, 1998). Imperfect correlations between willingness and behavior may
be explained by changes in behavioral restrictions over time (cf. Grasmick & Bursik, 1990).
Willingness-measures have the additional advantage of eliciting fewer refusals to answers
to questions about the willingness to conduct a certain behavior as they are less sensitive
than measures of behavior (e.g., Gibbons, Gerrard, Blanton, et al., 1998).
Willingness to use CE
In study 1, CE-drug use willingness was measured on a scale ranging from 0 = very
unlikelyto 5 = very likelyin response to the following question: Some university
teachers boost their cognitive abilities with the help of prescription drugs, though there is no
medical need (e.g., for mental concentration, memory, or vigilance). Regardless of whether
or not you have done so in the past, can you imagine doing something like that?(cf. Sattler
& Wiegel, 2013). In studies 2 and 3, we used the same question but with dichotomous
response categories; 0 = No, I would not do that under any circumstances;1=Yes, I
would do that under certain circumstances.
Prior CE-drug use
Prior CE-drug use was measured in study 1 using the same introduction as for the
willingness-measure and asking: Have you ever done that?Five response categories
were provided: 0 = no, never;1=yes, within the last 30 days;2=yes, between the
last 30 days and 6 months;3=yes, between the last 6 months and 1 year;4=yes,
more than 1 year ago.Due to the low prevalence, we computed a dichotomous variable
indicating no use (0) and use (1).
Independent variables
Work-related stress
All three studies employed the work-related stress-scale developed by Enzmann and
Kleiber (1989) consisting of six items, such as I often feel overburdened.Responses
ranged from 1 = not applicable at allto 5 = completely applicable.Due to the one-
dimensional factorial structure and the good internal consistency of this measure
(Cronbachsαs in study 1: 0.83; study 2: 0.84; and study 3: 0.83), mean values across
all items were computed (Table 1).
Moral perceptions (two versions)
In study 2, moral perceptions (version 1) regarding CE-drug use were measured using the
question: How do you personally evaluate the use of prescription drugs to enhance work
performance without any medical necessity?on a 7-point scale ranging from 0 = not
correct at allto 6 = fully correct(sample item: It gives me a bad conscience
(Sattler et al., 2013). Internal consistency of the scale was good (α= 0.89) and factorial
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structure one-dimensional. To test the robustness of results for moral perceptions, study 3
used another instrument, which referred to the concept of the oughtnessof social norms
(version 2): One should take prescription drugs to enhance cognitive performance only if
a physician prescribed them.Participants responded to three items: Do you think this
norm is important or not important?ranging from 0 = very unimportantto 6 = very
important; How do you evaluate people transgressing the norm?ranging from 0 =
very negativeto 6 = very positive,reverse coded; and Do you agree with the
norm?ranging from 0 = neverto 6 = always.The scale had a satisfactory
consistency (α= 0.76) and a one-dimensional structure, so the mean value was computed.
This instrument refers to the theoretical concept by Lindenberg, Joly, and Stapel (2011,
retracted). It is important to point out that although the third author of this retracted paper
manipulated the data-set without the knowledge of his coauthors, the results of our study
are not affected by this manipulation. However, our operationalization of the norm
variables was guided by this paper. We believe that this operationalization captures the
notion of norms provided by Hechter and Opp (2005).
Social support
In study 3, perceived social support was assessed by using the Berlin Social Support
Scales (Schulz & Schwarzer, 2003). Four items each covered emotional (sample item:
There is always someone there for me when I need comforting) and instrumental
support (There are people who offer me help when I need it). We used a scale with
anchors 1 = not at all true,2=barely true,3=moderately true,4=exactly true.
Factor analysis revealed a one-dimensional structure. The internal consistency was 0.92.
To save space for reporting, we used the combined scale, because similar results were
found when using emotional and instrumental support separately (see supplementary
Table S5).
Prior CE-drug use
In addition to analyzing prior CE-drug use as a dependent variable, which is common in
research on CE-drug use (Franke et al., 2011; Wolff & Brand, 2013), it was also used as
an independent variable to examine whether it is a precondition for the willingness to use
CE-drugs (cf. Sattler et al., 2014; see the list of dependent variables above and H2
prior CE-
drug use
in the introduction).
Demographic variables
Women were coded 1and men 0.Age was assessed with 11 categories (see Table 1,
also for the other demographics). We grouped disciplines into either medical and health-
related disciplines (coded 1) or other (0). High-status individuals (full and assistant
professors) were coded 1and all others were coded 0indicating a lower status.
A correlation matrix of all key study variables can be found in supplementary tables
(see Tables S6aS6c).
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Statistical analysis
Negative binomial regression models were applied in study 1 to analyze the effects of the
predictors on the CE willingness scale, because of highly skewed responses (skewness =
2.98) and overdispersion (p< .001). In such a case, these models are less likely to
produce biased estimates than ordinary least squares regressions (Long & Freese, 2001).
For these models incidence-rate ratios (IRR) are reported. An IRR greater than 1 indicates
a positive effect of the independent variable on the outcome variable. An IRR smaller
than 1 points to a negative effect, while an IRR equal to 1 indicates no effect.
To analyze the effects of the predictors on the dichotomous measures of willingness to
take CE-drugs (studies 2 and 3), logit regression models (e.g., Long & Freese, 2001) were
applied. For both types of logit analyses, odds ratios (OR) are reported. An OR greater than
1 indicates a positive effect of the independent variable on the outcome variable. An OR
smaller than 1 points to a negative effect, while an OR equaling 1 indicates no effect.
Willingness to use CE-drugs
In study 1, 79.6% of the respondents deemed any personal future use of CE-drugs as very
unlikely (Table 1). The rates of refusal to use CE-drugs were similar across studies 2
(88.1%) and 3 (86.4%). The results indicate that willingness was similar across times of
measurement and different measures.
Furthermore, the overlap of respondents in our series of three studies allowed for
more informative stability tests among respondents. We used the willingness-measures
from earlier studies to test their associations with the willingness-measures in subsequent
studies using logit regression models. If the willingness observed in study 1 increased by
one unit on the 6-point scale, the odds of reporting willingness to use CE-drugs would
have increased by 128% (OR = 2.28, p<.001, N= 429) in study 2 and by 163%
(OR = 2.63; p< .001, N= 364) in study 3. Willingness also increased in study 3
(OR = 25.49, p<.001, N= 372), if university teachers reported being willing to use CE-
drugs in study 2. These results demonstrate the high stability of willingness to use CE-drugs.
In the next step, we investigated factors that potentially influenced this willingness by
applying negative binomial regression models in study 1. We found that an increase of
work-related stress by one unit significantly (p<.001) increased this willingness, by 68%
(IRR = 1.68) (see Model 1 in Table 2 for study 1, Model 3 in Table 2 for study 2, and
Model 1 in Table 3 for study 3). In all models, the effects of work-related stress were robust
against potentially confounding factors. Therefore, H1
work-related stress
was supported. We
also found that prior CE-drug use increased the willingness by a factor of 6.75 (p< .010, see
Model 2 in Table 2), which supports H2
prior CE-drug use
. Furthermore, the inclusion of prior
use was also a test for the robustness of the stress effect because this variable may measure
unobserved influences. We found that the effect of work-related stress remained significant
after controlling for prior CE use.Moreover, both measures of moral perceptions were
negatively associated with willingness (for version 1, see Model 4 in Table 2, and for
version 2 see Model 2 in Tab l e 3), thereby supporting H3
moral perceptions
. Furthermore, we
found the hypothesized protective effect of social support, which supports H4
social support
(see Model 3 in Table 3). We also considered a stress-buffering effect of social support
(e.g., Viswesvaran, Sanchez, & Fisher, 1999) on willingness to use CE-drugs, which means
that high social support decreases the effect of work-related stress on willingness. We found
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Table 2. Multiple negative binomial regression models (Models 1 and 2) and multiple logistic regression models (Models 3 and 4) to assess associationsof
work-related stress, gender, age, discipline (medical/health vs. others), professional status, prior CE-drug use, and moral perception (version 1) with willingness
to use CE-drugs.
Study 1 (n=1131) Study 2 (n=936)
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4
IRR [95% CI] IRR [95% CI] OR [95% CI] OR [95% CI]
Work-related stress 1.68*** [1.41, 2.00] 1.65*** [1.39, 1.96] 1.65*** [1.29, 2.10] 1.78*** [1.38, 2.30]
Female (=yes) 0.98 [0.73, 1.34] 0.98 [0.72, 1.33] 0.59* [0.37, 0.94] 0.57* [0.35, 0.92]
Age 0.93 [0.87, 1.00] 0.94 [0.88, 1.02] 0.94 [0.85, 1.05] 0.95 [0.85, 1.06]
Medical/health (=yes) 0.93 [0.58, 1.49] 0.98 [0.62, 1.55] 0.87 [0.45, 1.67] 0.96 [0.49, 1.89]
High status (=yes) 1.08 [0.69, 1.67] 1.11 [0.72, 1.70] 0.71 [0.39, 1.27] 0.59 [0.32, 1.08]
Prior CE-drug use (=yes) 6.75** [2.15, 2.12]
Moral perceptions (version 1)
0.67*** [0.61, 0.75]
AIC 1694.93 1681.34 669.99 612.76
38.70 54.28 23.61 82.84
Note: Model 1 shows that increasing work-related stress increases the willingness to use CE-drugs in study 1. Model 2 shows that prior CE-drug use also increases this willingness.
Model 3 replicates the effect of work-related stress in study 2 and shows a lower CE-drug use willingness among females. Model 4 shows that stronger moral qualms about
CE-drug use (version 1) decrease the CE-drug use willingness.
n, number of observations; IRR, incidence rate ratio; OR, odds ratio; CI, confidence interval; AIC, Akaike information criterion.
Not assessed in this study.
*p< .05, **p< .01, ***p< .001.
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no such interaction effect. Due to space limitations, we do not depict and discuss this
finding in detail.
Regarding our demographic variables, women demonstrated lower willingness scores
than men in study 2 (p= .020 in Model 4 in Table 2), while no such effect was found in
study 1 (p= .874 in Model 2 in Table 2) and study 3 (p= .574 in Model 3 in Table 3).
Increasing age reduced willingness to use CE-drugs in study 3 (p= .003 in Model 1) but not
in studies 1 and 2 (p= .271). In all studies, status and academic discipline had no effect.
Prior CE-drug use
Fewer than 1% of respondents reported prior CE-drug use (Table 1). Rare events logit
regression analysis shows that prior CE-drug use was more likely when work-related stress
was higher (OR = 2.04; p= .033), thereby supporting H1
work-related stress
. No gender
difference was found. Older respondents were more likely to report prior CE-drug use
(OR =0.66;p=.046). No statistical analysis could be conducted for discipline and status,
since none of the cases of CE-drug use were reported by medical and health-related
university teachers or the high-status group.
Our three interconnected, large studies of German university teachers show that the
prevalence of CE-drug use is very low. The declared willingness to use such drugs in the
future was higher than the current use; this discrepancy was stable over time and robust
across two measures. There may be several reasons for the difference between intake
Table 3. Multiple logistic regression models to assess associations of work-related stress, gender,
age, discipline (medical/health vs. others), status, moral perceptions (version 2), and social support
with willingness to use CE-drugs.
Study 3 (n= 906)
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
OR [95% CI] OR [95% CI] OR [95% CI]
Work-related stress 1.67*** [1.31, 2.13] 1.66*** [1.305, 2.14] 1.58*** [1.22, 2.04]
Female (=yes) 0.76 [0.49, 1.16] 0.79 [0.50, 1.22] 0.88 [0.56, 1.38]
Age 0.84** [0.75, 0.94] 0.84** [0.75, 0.95] 0.82** [0.73, 0.93]
Medical/health (=yes) 1.37 [0.72, 2.58] 1.37 [0.71, 2.65] 1.40 [0.72, 2.69]
High status (=yes) 1.22 [0.67, 2.22] 1.25 [0.68, 2.32] 1.29 [0.700, 2.39]
Moral perceptions
(version 2)
0.61*** [0.53, 0.70] 0.61*** [0.53, 0.70]
Social support 0.62* [0.42, 0.93]
AIC 698.89 652.14 648.77
32.82 81.58 86.94
Note: Model 1 shows that increasing work-related stress increases the CE-drug use willingness in study 3, while
increasing age is associated with a lower willingness. Model 2 shows that stronger moral qualms about CE-drug
use (version 2) also decrease respective willingness. Model 3 shows that increasing social support impedes a
high willingness.
n, number of observations; OR, odds ratio; CI, confidence interval; AIC, Akaike information criterion.
*p< .05, **p< .01, ***p< .001.
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willingness and behavior. For example, university teachers might like to use such
medications but do not have access, or they may not have previously had any reason to
use CE-drugs but would be willing to do so if a reason arose. Some teachers might wait
until more powerful and/or safer medication is available. This assumption is supported by
Franke, Bonertz, Christmann, Engeser, and Lieb (2012), who found that 80% of the
German students investigated would consider using CE-drugs if the drugs did not cause
long-term damage or addiction. Maher (2008) found a prevalence of about 20% in a
population that consisted primarily of scientists from 60 different countries. Thus, the low
prevalence found in our study could be due to the fact that the projected upcoming trend
(Franke et al., 2012) has not yet reached Germany.
Work-related stress has recently increased in universities (Mark & Smith, 2012;
Winefield & Jarrett, 2001). We anticipated that some healthy individuals would consider
meeting these heightened job demands by CE. Using multiple measures of CE in three
studies, we found that higher work-related stress was consistently and robustly associated
with a higher willingness to use enhancers as well as with the prior use of such drugs,
thus supporting H1
work-related stress
As in other studies (Sattler et al., 2014; Sattler & Wiegel, 2013), here, too, prior CE-
drug use was shown to promote willingness to use CE-drugs in the future, thus
supporting H2
prior CE-drug use
. This finding may indicate that time-invariant factors (such
as preferences or lack of self-control) that influenced prior decisions also influence
subsequent decisions (cf. Beck & Ajzen, 1991; Nagin & Pogarsky, 2001). Habituation
and/or prior experience might also account for this effect. Further analysis should
investigate the mechanism behind this effect, how much deliberation is involved, and
whether this effect indicates addictive tendencies. In our analyses, we cannot distinguish
between these two possibilities, but the inclusion of prior CE-experience allowed us to
consider potentially unobserved heterogeneity among drug users and non-users.
Furthermore, we found that stronger moral qualms against CE-drugs decreased CE-
drug use willingness, thereby supporting H3
moral perceptions
(Sattler et al., 2014). This finding
might be explained by the effect of internal control and the associated fact that feelings of
shame might arise from violating such moral perceptions (cf. Cochran et al., 1999;
Grasmick & Bursik, 1990). This effect was demonstrated by two different measures for
assessing moral considerations, which indicates the robustness of our results.
We also corroborated H4
social support
: University teachers reporting having less social
support which is an important resource for achieving life goals, dealing with problems,
and creating well-being reported greater willingness to use CE-drugs. Therefore, CE-
drug use could be interpreted as a strategy to compensate for this deficiency. No stress-
buffering effect of perceived social support was found, however.
Similar to studies in other samples, results for gender were mixed. While no
associations were found in studies 1 and 3 (cf. Rabiner, Anastopoulos, Costello, Hoyle, &
Swartwelder, 2010; Weyandt et al., 2009), women were less willing to use CE-drugs in
study 2 (cf. McCabe, Knight, Teter, & Wechsler, 2005; Rabiner et al., 2009). One
explanation for the latter finding might be that men tend to engage in risky behavior more
often (e.g., Dohmen et al., 2011) and therefore might be more willing to accept risks
associated with CE-drug use. Furthermore, due to the model of the male breadwinner in
Germany, men might feel greater pressure to succeed at work, which would indicate that
men have stronger incentives to use CE-drugs. But there are also opposing mechanisms.
Due to structural discrimination, women in high-status jobs need to work harder to rise in
Anxiety, Stress, & Coping 11
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the hierarchy compared to men. Additionally, women are more likely to have double and
triple the amount of chores (work, children, household). Due to inconsistent findings,
gender effects need further empirical investigation.
Younger university teachers more often reported a prior use of CE-drugs in study 1
and were more willing to use CE-drugs in study 3. One can argue that CE is a recent
phenomenon and is therefore more widespread among younger university teachers, who
might be more open to experimentation. Furthermore, younger university teachers might
have stronger incentives than older colleagues to invest in achievement strategies. CE-
drug use is also risky because of potential side effects and long-term health consequences,
and risk-taking generally declines with age (Turner & McClure, 2003). But these
assumptions need to be demonstrated in further studies because age was not related to the
CE-drug use willingness in studies 1 or 2.
The lower professional status group reported more prior drug use, but no difference in
willingness was found between status groups. Because of potentially greater competition
for prospective jobs in the lower professional status group, this group might expect to
gain more from CE compared to the higher status group, who have already reached
prestigious and secure positions. But, even in the German high-status group, there is a
considerable degree of competition for recognition and resources within organizations
and among peers in different organizations, which might account for the equally high
willingness to use CE-drugs reported by low- and high-status groups.
No clear differences were found among academic disciplines. University teachers in
medical and health-related disciplines may have both better access to CE-drugs and more
knowledge about the application of CE-drugs (cf. Franke et al., 2011; Teter, McCabe,
LaGrange, Cranford, & Boyd, 2006), but they may also be better informed about the side
effects and limited enhancement effects in healthy individuals (Husain & Mehta, 2011).
Thus, positive and negative effects may offset each other.
Limitations and future research
With the exception of the measure inquiring about past CE-drug behavior, only
willingness-measures were employed. Previous research has shown that willingness
reliably predicts behavior associated with health risks (Gibbons et al., 2009), and we find
it unlikely that work-related stress would influence reported willingness to use CE-drugs
but not behavior. The prevalence of prior CE-drug use was very low, and the willingness
to use CE-drugs was only moderate. In addition to the above-mentioned explanations,
another methodological explanation may be a response bias due to the topics sensitivity.
The willingness question might be perceived as less sensitive because no moral
perception is violated until the drug is actually consumed. This might lead to reporting
higher willingness compared to prior use (cf. Gibbons, Gerrard, Blanton, et al., 1998). An
important risk factor for biased answers is lack of anonymity (Ong & Weiss, 2000). We
employed several measures to minimize socially desirable responding and provided full
anonymity (see Methods). Moreover, web surveys increase reporting of sensitive
information and achieve higher accuracy (Crutzen & Göritz, 2010; Kreuter, Presser, &
Tourangeau, 2008). We recalculated all results after applying multiple imputation
techniques (Royston, 2005) to analyze the impact of dropout and item-non-response for
the investigated variables. Results with imputed data are similar to those with non-
imputed data (see supplementary Tables S1S3).
C. Wiegel et al.12
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To statistically address the low number of past CE-drug users, rare events logistic
regression models were used. Due to the low prevalence of CE-drug use, huge and costly
data-sets are needed for future investigations on behavior. Therefore, our willingness-
measures are valuable for elucidating trends in CE-drug use.
Response rates indicate that a noticeable share of university teachers chose not to
participate in the study. But our response rates were satisfactory because university
teachers have high opportunity costs for participation. Comparisons of willingness-
measures for all participants in each single study and those who participated in one or
more studies reveal similar results (see supplementary Table S4a); hence, those who did
not participate in more than one study did not alter the measured prevalence. Moreover, the
level of work-related stress is very similar among those who participated once, twice, or
three times (cf. supplementary Tables S4aS4b). These findings are indicative of random
dropout. Furthermore, we verified that our study outcomes were not biased due to selective
study participation by recalculating all models with sampling weights (Winship & Radbill,
1994) (cf. supplementary Tables S7S10), since gender proportion and discipline
affiliation were available for the contacted sample. But future studies should investigate
potential biases regarding other variables than gender and academic discipline.
Similarities in the results across studies may have resulted, in part, from stabilities
among persons who participated more than once. In total, 219 teachers participated in all
studies. The data from the repeated participants allowed for several stability tests and
were therefore important to this under-investigated topic. We reanalyzed all models using
only the one-time participants to test whether the results were affected by repeated
participation. These analyses (see supplementary Tables S1113) produced similar results
in terms of all effect sizes. Due to the resulting smaller sample and consequently
decreased statistical power, however, the effects of perceived social support on
willingness in study 3, and work-related stress and age on prior CE-drug use in study 1
no longer achieved a conventional level of significance (see supplementary Tables S11
and S13).
Our results illustrate that CE-drug use is less common than sensationalized in the media.
But prevalence may increase under the conditions discussed above. In the framework of
drug instrumentalization (Müller & Schumann, 2011), the effect of work-related stress on
CE-drug use can be understood as a non-addictive, functional adaption to complex,
competitive, fast-changing modern microenvironments by increasing, sustaining, or
restoring work performance. Individuals can perceive CE-drug use as a means of
achieving income, status, mental health, etc. But instrumental drug use can also lead to
addiction and unwanted side effects as well as have long-term health consequences
(Müller & Schumann, 2011).
In societies or (sub-)groups in which CE-drug use is prevalent and harmful, drug
regulation and prevention might be advised, and our results can support such endeavors.
Since several university teachers consider CE-drug use a strategy for coping with stress, it
may be advisable to encourage other psychological treatments and non-pharmacological
means such as sleep, meditation, or physical exercise (Dresler et al., 2013; Sahakian &
Morein-Zamir, 2007; Thoits, 1982) to improved cognitive performance, worklife
balances, and relaxation. The CE willingness-inhibiting effect of social support could
Anxiety, Stress, & Coping 13
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also be utilized for prevention. Universities could provide teachers with increased support
to reduce work-related stress and the consequent instrumentalization of CE-drugs. By
fostering discussions about the moral problems of CE-drug use (e.g., fairness) and
strengthening regulations, the belief that CE-drug use is immoral could be used to impede
willingness to engage in CE (Sattler et al., 2013). Furthermore, prior users and potential
users could be informed about the limited enhancements in healthy individuals through
CE-drugs (Husain & Mehta, 2011) and about the risk of severe side effects (e.g., Greely
et al., 2008; Winder-Rhodes et al., 2010). The inscription of such information into the
semantic drug memory may reduce expectations about the benefits of instrumentalizing
CE-drugs (Müller & Schumann, 2011). Moreover, the supervised and informed use of
safe drugs as well as alternative strategies for maintaining and increasing mental
performance and treating stress could replace risky self-medication (Dubljevic, 2013;
Sahakian & Morein-Zamir, 2007).
We would like to thank all the people who helped to conduct this study, especially Dominik Koch,
Ines Meyer, Andrea Schulze, Floris van Veen, and Sebastian Willen. We thank Olaf von dem
Knesebeck for critical comments as well as Siegwart Lindenberg for his discussion of our
application of his moral perception measure. Furthermore, we also thank the two anonymous
reviewers for their insightful comments. The FMER did not influence any interpretations or force
the research team to produce biased results. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the
policies of the funder. The authors did not receive any research support from public or private actors
in the pharmaceutical sector.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
This research was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research [FMER; 01PH08024],
headed by Sebastian Sattler and Martin Diewald). Sebastian Sattlers research was supported by the
Rectorate Fellowship of the Bielefeld University and by a PostDoc Fellowship [Az.] of
the Fritz-Thyssen-Foundation and the Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics, and
Social Sciences.
Supplemental data
Supplemental data for this article can be accessed here.
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... Assessing the moral acceptability of using NTDs can create insights into societal norms and the laypersons' understanding of them as personally or socially good or bad [25], reflecting their hopes and fears. Moral evaluations and measures capturing the willingness to engage in certain behaviors are also strong predictors of health-and non-health-related behavior, since they capture motivational factors for acting in a certain way [26][27][28][29]. This makes them useful in assessing new phenomena and trends, as in the context of emerging NTDs [30,31]. ...
... However, respondents' individual perspectives and circumstances may affect their attitudes towards NTDs, as indicated by the research on prescription drugs used for enhancement, and less frequently for NTDs. Higher moral acceptance and use willingness can be expected among individuals who would have a greater need for NTDs, for example, to deal with stress and its negative consequences [29,[42][43][44]; to compensate for potential deficits, such as low levels of cognitive function [45]; and to cope with age-related cognitive and physical decline (such as vision or mobility) [46,47]. ...
... Respondents who had greater stress gave moral acceptance for both types of NTDs more readily and were more willing to use BSDs and BCIs for enhancement purposes. While this relationship has thus far been investigated only for prescription drugs [29,[42][43][44], BSDs and BCIs might also be seen as instruments to cope with stress and its negative consequences, as well as increase performance and manage stressful demands. ...
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This study contributes to the emerging literature on public perceptions of neurotechnological devices (NTDs) in their medical and non-medical applications, depending on their invasiveness, framing effects, and interindividual differences related to personal needs and values. We conducted two web-based between-subject experiments (2×2×2) using a representative, nation-wide sample of the adult population in Germany. Using vignettes describing how two NTDs, brain stimulation devices (BSDs; N Experiment 1 = 1,090) and brain-computer interfaces (BCIs; N Experiment 2 = 1,089), function, we randomly varied the purpose (treatment vs. enhancement) and invasiveness (noninvasive vs. invasive) of the NTD , and assessed framing effects (variable order of assessing moral acceptability first vs. willingness to use first). We found a moderate moral acceptance and willingness to use BSDs and BCIs. Respondents preferred treatment over enhancement purposes and noninvasive over invasive devices. We also found a framing effect and explored the role of personal characteristics as indicators of personal needs and values (e.g., stress, religiosity, and gender). Our results suggest that the future demand for BSDs or BCIs may depend on the purpose, invasiveness, and personal needs and values. These insights can inform technology developers about the public’s needs and concerns, and enrich legal and ethical debates.
... However, this was reported in a study using a self-selected population [25]. Representative studies are rare in this context, e.g., [26,27] and several (often non-representative) studies focus on specific occupations, such as scientists [28], doctors, programmers, advertising specialists, and publicists [29]. The misuse of such drugs for enhancement purposes has been positively described as a means to increase productivity and wealth [30,31]. ...
... The ENHANCE study was approved by the ethics committee of the University of Erfurt (reference numbers: EV-20190917 and EV-20200805). At t 2 , respondents were asked to indicate how often they had taken prescription drugs in the last 12 months to support their mental performance, without the drugs being taken on the advice of a doctor to treat an illness, c.f., [26,28]. Before completing the questions, participants were told that such medications are usually taken to treat diseases (like attention deficit disorder, narcolepsy, dementia, depression, and anxiety), and that we were interested in their misuse of prescription drugs, including stimulants (e.g., Ritalin), anti-dementia drugs (e.g., Piracetam), beta blockers (e.g., Metoprolol), antidepressants (e.g., Fluoxetine), and others. ...
... Our findings indicate that the intrinsic component of the ERI model seems more important for this type of drug misuse than the extrinsic components representing the working situation. In a way, this is plausible, as cognitive enhancement drug use and overcommitment can both be considered critical coping styles [28,36,50]. Overcommitment is a specific pattern for coping with demanding situations, characterized by excessive engagement and a desire for being in control. ...
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This study examines how work stress affects the misuse of prescription drugs to augment mental performance without medical necessity (i.e., cognitive enhancement). Based on the effort-reward imbalance model, it can be assumed that a misalignment of effort exerted and rewards received increases prescription drug misuse, especially if employees overcommit. To test these assumptions, we conducted a prospective study using a nationwide web-based sample of the working population in Germany (N = 11,197). Effort, reward, and overcommitment were measured at t1 and the 12 month frequency of prescription drug misuse for enhancing cognitive performance was measured at a one-year follow-up (t2). The results show that 2.6% of the respondents engaged in such drug misuse, of which 22.7% reported frequent misuse. While we found no overall association between misuse frequency and effort, reward, or their imbalance, overcommitment was significantly associated with a higher misuse frequency. Moreover, at low levels of overcommitment, more effort and an effort-reward imbalance discouraged future prescription drug misuse, while higher overcommitment, more effort, and an imbalance increased it. These findings suggest that a stressful work environment is a risk factor for health-endangering behavior, and thereby underlines the importance of identifying groups at risk of misusing drugs.
... In line with prior research on the relation between moral attitudes and behavioral willingness (Ajzen, 1991;Sattler et al., 2013;Wiegel et al., 2016;Bavarian et al., 2019;Huber et al., 2022), we found that more positive moral judgments resulted in higher willingness to cooperate. Such moral judgments might be antecedents when individuals unconsciously or consciously develop a willingness to conduct a certain behavior. ...
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Introduction Moral judgment is of critical importance in the work context because of its implicit or explicit omnipresence in a wide range of work-place practices. The moral aspects of actual behaviors, intentions, and consequences represent areas of deep preoccupation, as exemplified in current corporate social responsibility programs, yet there remain ongoing debates on the best understanding of how such aspects of morality (behaviors, intentions, and consequences) interact. The ADC Model of moral judgment integrates the theoretical insights of three major moral theories (virtue ethics, deontology, and consequentialism) into a single model, which explains how moral judgment occurs in parallel evaluation processes of three different components: the character of a person (Agent-component); their actions (Deed-component); and the consequences brought about in the situation (Consequences-component). The model offers the possibility of overcoming difficulties encountered by single or dual-component theories. Methods We designed a 2 × 2 × 2-between-subjects design vignette experiment with a Germany-wide sample of employed respondents ( N = 1,349) to test this model. Results Results showed that the Deed-component affects willingness to cooperate in the work context, which is mediated via moral judgments. These effects also varied depending on the levels of the Agent- and Consequences-component. Discussion Thereby, the results exemplify the usefulness of the ADC Model in the work context by showing how the distinct components of morality affect moral judgment.
... In terms of sample, it could be instructive to examine the presence of PED among those individuals already engaging in CE, or those who seriously contemplate its use. A concrete empirical context is actually 'close to home', namely, academics at university (Sahakian and Morein-Zamir, 2007;Wiegel et al., 2016). We offer academics as a suitable population to study PED because their working lives have come to be very comprehensively defined by metrics and performance measurements (Ryazanova, 2022). ...
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Despite being the subject of public and scholarly debates for some time, the topic of cognitive enhancement remains theoretically underdeveloped in organization studies. This is because the 'dots' still have to be 'connected' between macro-level phenomena (here, the therapeutic ethos and cognitive capitalism), and micro-level phenomena (in this case, cognitive abilities). In this essay, we use Fromm's notion of social character to theorise dialectally about the interaction between these macro and micro-level phenomena. Doing so enables us to examine how the macro/micro interaction fosters to adoption of cognitive enhancement in the context of work, and what kinds of consequences might emerge from this. We propose the psycho-emotional deficitisation of workers as a central consequence of the aforementioned interaction, and define it as an internalised version of external ideals of what it means to be a productive worker under cognitive capitalism, which over time generates and reinforces the affective experience of being deficient. Our theorising around socially patterned defects of a cognitive kind has crucial ramification for our understanding of technology-mediated affective control at work and how human-technology interactions shape the subjectivities of workers toward greater self-inferiorisation vis-à-vis the perceived superiority of technology. We close by foreshadowing avenues for future research.
... Thus, it has been found that alcohol, tobacco, or drug abuse can cause other conditions [14,15]. Work-related stress has been documented to be associated with the development of musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) [16]. ...
Full-text available
The performance of job tasks is increasingly being viewed through the prism of time constraints. Stress, as a consequence of these constraints, can play a dual role: motivating or destructive. This paper addresses the role of time pressure during the implementation of psychotechnical tests. Based on the example of a pilot group, which consisted of students of the Faculty of Mining, Safety Engineering, and Industrial Automation of the Silesian University of Technology, the authors presented the results of the study of the impact of time regime on the assessment of visuomotor coordination, psychomotor reaction time, the ability to focus attention, perceptual speed and accuracy, attention divisibility, and set-shifting. With the use of a survey conducted among the subjects and multivariate analysis (the Analytic Hierarchy Process method), an assessment was made in terms of difficulty levels during the implementation of exercises, including four evaluation criteria: complexity, repetition and timing of emitted signals, and the required accuracy of response to the signals in question. In the process of verifying the consistency of the evaluations carried out, the consistency ratio (CR) was adopted.
... In modern society, stress has become increasingly widespread and severe. The European Union has established it as one of the most common causes of health problems (Wiegel et al., 2015). ...
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Mental stress is becoming increasingly widespread and gradually severe in modern society, threatening people’s physical and mental health. To avoid the adverse effects of stress on people, it is imperative to detect stress in time. Many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of using objective indicators to detect stress. Over the past few years, a growing number of researchers have been trying to use deep learning technology to detect stress. However, these works usually use single-modality for stress detection and rarely combine stress-related information from multimodality. In this paper, a real-time deep learning framework is proposed to fuse ECG, voice, and facial expressions for acute stress detection. The framework extracts the stress-related information of the corresponding input through ResNet50 and I3D with the temporal attention module (TAM), where TAM can highlight the distinguishing temporal representation for facial expressions about stress. The matrix eigenvector-based approach is then used to fuse the multimodality information about stress. To validate the effectiveness of the framework, a well-established psychological experiment, the Montreal imaging stress task (MIST), was applied in this work. We collected multimodality data from 20 participants during MIST. The results demonstrate that the framework can combine stress-related information from multimodality to achieve 85.1% accuracy in distinguishing acute stress. It can serve as a tool for computer-aided stress detection.
... These findings urge the need for greater emotional regulation skills amongst teaching staff who operate within worse working conditions (greater teaching load for less financial compensation). This is important as this group is characterised by higher levels of stress than those typically experienced by teachers (Wiegel et al., 2016). Likewise, there is a clear need to develop actions which improve teachers' self-efficacy and cognitive re-evaluation as these act as mediators of stress and could improve wellbeing in this group (Chacón-Cuberos, 2020;Yin et al., 2020). ...
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INTRODUCTION. Stress is defined as a state of physical and mental exhaustion, derived from a demanding context. Several national reports indicate that six out of ten teachers present medium to high levels of stress, affecting the quality of their professional activity. This perspective is extremely common in Higher Education. The aim of this research was to better understand the relationships between emotional management, stress and self-efficacy, alongside the effect of other academic and professional variables in Higher Education teachers. METHOD. The present study was descriptive, ex post-facto and cross-sectional and was performed with a sample of 798 Higher Education teachers from 15 Spanish universities, using IBM SPSS v.23.0 software for data analysis. RESULTS. Better emotional regulation was observed in males, those with a stable job and those working in the field of Science. Stress was higher amongst non-academic staff, whilst teaching staff perceived themselves to have greater self-efficacy when they reported family responsibilities and other obligations. Along these lines, teaching experience was determined to favour cognitive re-evaluation and self-efficacy, whilst also decreasing stress levels. This was especially the case amongst permanent teaching staff. Further, emotional regulation favoured a decrease in stress and the development of self-efficacy. DISCUSSION. In conclusion, the need is established to conduct actions for the development of emotional regulation techniques within university teaching staff. This will allow one self to manage stressful situations and inoculate anxiety and stress derived from professional activity. Ultimately, it will result in an improvement in teaching activity, favouring the achievement of the proposed teaching objectives and the academic performance of students.
Health professions academics experience additional profession-related stressors that negatively affect health and performance outcomes. Understanding these stressors in the context of the institution where the health professions academic is employed was recommended. Historically disadvantaged institutions reportedly experience additional stressors, such as resource constraints, which may further affect occupational stress. In the study, we examined the relationship between sources of occupational stress and coping strategies among health professions academics. An online survey was conducted with 51 health professions academics employed at a historically disadvantaged institution. A demographic questionnaire, the Sources of Work Stress Inventory and the Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Inventory were used for data collection. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and correlations. The findings indicated that the respondents experienced moderate levels of stress across all nine sources of occupational stress. Work/home interface, workload and general work stress were the three highest ranked sources of stress. The respondents responded more frequently with problem-focused and emotion-focused coping, although maladaptive coping, including avoidance, venting, self-blame and denial, was also reported. The results suggest that health professions academics use expressive maladaptive coping strategies pervasively when stressed, albeit less so than adaptive coping strategies. An understanding of the relationship between sources of occupational stress and coping strategies can inform intervention and improve health and performance outcomes in health professions academics.
Despite being the subject of public and scholarly debates for some time, the topic of cognitive enhancement remains theoretically under-developed in organisation studies. This is because the ‘dots’ still have to be ‘connected’ between macro-level phenomena (here, the therapeutic ethos and cognitive capitalism), and micro-level phenomena (in this case, cognitive abilities). In this essay, we use Fromm’s notion of social character to theorise dialectally about the interaction between these macro and micro-level phenomena. Doing so enables us to examine how the macro/micro interaction fosters to adoption of cognitive enhancement in the context of work, and what kinds of consequences might emerge from this. We propose the psycho-emotional deficitisation of workers as a central consequence of the aforementioned interaction, and define it as an internalised version of external ideals of what it means to be a productive worker under cognitive capitalism, which over time generates and reinforces the affective experience of being deficient. Our theorising around socially patterned defects of a cognitive kind has crucial ramification for our understanding of technology-mediated affective control at work and how human–technology interactions shape the subjectivities of workers towards greater self-inferiorisation vis-à-vis the perceived superiority of technology. We close by foreshadowing avenues for future research.
The purpose of this research was to analyze the incidence of work stress on the performance by competencies of university teachers, measured by the functions of teaching (pedagogic-didactic competencies, research, academic management, and university extension. A total of 400 teachers who work full time in the main public and private universities in Ecuador participated in the study. Data and relationships were analyzed using structural equation models based on covariances (CB-SEM) through the maximum likelihood method. The reported findings showed that work stress had a significant impact on performance dealing with pedagogical and academic management competencies, while statistically significant results were not reported for research and university extension competencies.
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In the course of social changes a crisis of helping professions becomes visible that is reflected individually in stress and burnout. The book offers a comprehensive analysis of concepts of burnout known so far. After screening relevant research on stress and burnout in the helping professions and based on concepts of clinical as well as occupational psychology the authors suggest an integration of previously known burnout models into an action theoretical approach.
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Our growing ability to alter brain function can be used to enhance the mental processes of normal individuals as well as to treat mental dysfunction in people who are ill. The prospect of neurocognitive enhancement raises many issues about what is safe, fair and otherwise morally acceptable. This article resulted from a meeting on neurocognitive enhancement that was held by the authors. Our goal is to review the state of the art in neurocognitive enhancement, its attendant social and ethical problems, and the ways in which society can address these problems.
Social norms are rules that prescribe what people should and should not do given their social surroundings and circumstances. Norms instruct people to keep their promises, to drive on the right, or to abide by the golden rule. They are useful explanatory tools, employed to analyze phenomena as grand as international diplomacy and as mundane as the rules of the road. But our knowledge of norms is scattered across disciplines and research traditions, with no clear consensus on how the term should be used. Research on norms has focused on the content and the consequences of norms, without paying enough attention to their causes. Social Norms reaches across the disciplines of sociology, economics, game theory, and legal studies to provide a well-integrated theoretical and empirical account of how norms emerge, change, persist, or die out. Social Norms opens with a critical review of the many outstanding issues in the research on norms: When are norms simply devices to ease cooperation, and when do they carry intrinsic moral weight? Do norms evolve gradually over time or spring up spontaneously as circumstances change? The volume then turns to case studies on the birth and death of norms in a variety of contexts, from protest movements, to marriage, to mushroom collecting. The authors detail the concrete social processes, such as repeated interactions, social learning, threats and sanctions, that produce, sustain, and enforce norms. One case study explains how it can become normative for citizens to participate in political protests in times of social upheaval. Another case study examines how the norm of objectivity in American journalism emerged: Did it arise by consensus as the professional creed of the press corps, or was it imposed upon journalists by their employers? A third case study examines the emergence of the norm of national self-determination: has it diffused as an element of global culture, or was it imposed by the actions of powerful states? The book concludes with an examination of what we know of norm emergence, highlighting areas of agreement and points of contradiction between the disciplines. Norms may be useful in explaining other phenomena in society, but until we have a coherent theory of their origins we have not truly explained norms themselves. Social Norms moves us closer to a true understanding of this ubiquitous feature of social life.
To estimate frequencies of behaviors not carried out in public view, researchers generally must rely on self-report data. We explored 2 factors expected to influence the decision to reveal: (a) privacy (anonymity vs. confidentiality) and (b) normalization (providing information so that a behavior is reputedly commonplace or rare). We administered a questionnaire to 155 undergraduates. For 79 respondents, we had corroborative information regarding a negative behavior: cheating. The privacy variable had an enormous impact; of those who had cheated, 25% acknowledged having done so under confidentiality, but 74% admitted the behavior under anonymity. Normalization had no effect. There were also dramatic differences between anonymity and confidentiality on some of our other questions, for which we did not have validation.
Aims To examine the prevalence rates and correlates of non-medical use of prescription stimulants (Ritalin, Dexedrine or Adderall) among US college students in terms of student and college characteristics. Design A self-administered mail survey. Setting One hundred and nineteen nationally representative 4-year colleges in the United States. Participants A representative sample of 10 904 randomly selected college students in 2001. Measurements Self-reports of non-medical use of prescription stimulants and other substance use behaviors. Findings The life-time prevalence of non-medical prescription stimulant use was 6.9%, past year prevalence was 4.1% and past month prevalence was 2.1%. Past year rates of non-medical use ranged from zero to 25% at individual colleges. Multivariate regression analyses indicated non-medical use was higher among college students who were male, white, members of fraternities and sororities and earned lower grade point averages. Rates were higher at colleges located in the north-eastern region of the US and colleges with more competitive admission standards. Non-medical prescription stimulant users were more likely to report use of alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and other risky behaviors. Conclusions The findings of the present study provide evidence that nonmedical use of prescription stimulants is more prevalent among particular subgroups of US college students and types of colleges. The non-medical use of prescription stimulants represents a high-risk behavior that should be monitored further and intervention efforts are needed to curb this form of drug use.