Profmed 2017 Stress Index

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Work remains one of the leading drivers of stress-related illness among South African professionals

The 2017 Profmed Stress Index indicates that work stress remains one of the largest health problems among South African professionals.


The Index, which is compiled from responses of nearly 3 000 of Profmed’s professional membership base, revealed that apart from financial stresses, 45.5% of respondents still saw work as the biggest contributor to stress in their lives. The impact of work-related and financial stress can work hand-in-hand, as both can make an impact on professional’s lifestyle choices and quality of life.


“Work-related stress remains the biggest health concern for South African professionals. Finding effective ways to manage stress is what will make the difference in the quality of life for hard-working professionals, and is the only way to avoid falling ill to stress-related illnesses,” explains Graham Anderson, CEO of Profmed.


10.09% of respondents indicated that they have taken time off from work due to stress-related illnesses over the past six months. This is a slight increase from the previous year’s rating of 9.7%.


Anderson says that another area of concern is the increase in the amount of professionals who indicated that they feel they are not managing stress effectively. This could be a result of inflation and financial pressures, poor financial planning or debt management, or lifestyle choices that don’t promote good health. This year’s number reached 29.15%, an increase from the previous year’s result of 28.3%.


“Managing your stress plays a very important role in avoiding many diseases which could have severe implications on your health going forward. We strongly encourage people to learn more about the effects of stress and how to effectively manage them,” says Anderson.


Nonetheless, Anderson says that it is encouraging to see that exercise remains the most common method of dealing with stress. The Stress Index revealed that respondents actively exercising to deal with stress had increased from 37.6% in 2016 to 41.67% in 2017.


Additional highlights from the Profmed Stress Index include:

  • The majority age group of respondents are between the ages of 25 and 34, while the second largest group of respondents are between the ages of 35 and 44.
  • The Index was completed by 57.78% male respondents, with the majority of respondents working in the medical industry.
  • More than 63.11% of respondents claimed that stress has both an emotional and physical impact on them.
  • 44% of respondents cope with stress by taking time off from work or going on holiday.


“Exercise not only improves your physical wellbeing but also your mental health. Studies have shown that exercise releases endorphins, which increases levels of focus and improves your sleep, all of which gives you a greater sense of control over your life,” Anderson concludes.


* The Stress Index is an effective way of gathering data to help Profmed understand the evolving issues facing graduate professionals. This data can then be used to develop informed educational programmes to help people manage their stress and general levels of health.

Stress Index Infographic

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