The pace of life in our high technology world has quickened. Industries that do not become more efficient, often by requiring a faster production turnaround with less slack, are superseded. Because of this, workers face an environment in which they must perform under more time pressure and under greater task load, in which stress is more prevalent, and in which consequences of poor performance are more critical than ever before.
The dominant, if unstated, psychoanalytic paradigm underlying much stress research over the past fifty years has led to an emphasis on coping and defense mechanisms and to a preoccupation with disordered behavior and illness. Accordingly, almost any book with "stress" in the title will invariably devote a considerable amount of pages to topics such as stress-related disorders, clinical interventions, stress and coping, psychopathology, illness, and health issues.
This book presents basic and applied research that addresses the effects of acute stress on performance. There are a large number of applied settings that share the commonalities of high demand, high risk performance conditions, including aviation; military operations; nuclear, chemical, and other industrial settings; emergency medicine; mining; firefighting; and police work, as well as everyday settings in which individuals face stressors such as noise, time pressure, and high task load.
This book focuses directly on the effects of acute stress-- defined as intense, novel stress of limited duration--on performance. The effects of stress on task performance, decision making, and team interaction are discussed, as well as the interventions used to overcome them.