In her 15 years of examining organizational health worldwide, Sharon Glazer, PhD, has learned that the word “stress” doesn’t always translate. In Hebrew, for example, “stress” can translate to mean either pressure or tension, she says. Cultures also play a role in influencing how people vary in their reactions to stress.
“We need to dig a little deeper into understanding the influence of cultural context in affecting both the perception of stressors and the manifestations of strain,” says Glazer, a research professor at the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language and a professor of cross-cultural organizational psychology at San Jose State University.
Delving further into those issues is one of her goals as the new editor of APA’s International Journal of Stress Management. Glazer says she’ll strive to include more articles that incorporate international and cross-cultural perspectives and encourage authors to add sidebars to their articles to explain the context in which the data were collected and analyzed. An article that examines stress among teachers in Sweden, for example, could include a discussion of where teachers’ status ranks in relation to other occupations.
Glazer, who began accepting manuscripts in October, also plans to encourage authors to take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of stress and strain and to consider under-studied populations, including migrant and factory workers, farmers, entrepreneurs, and service employees.
“Reaching out to different populations and sectors of employment and bringing in multiple perspectives — from psychology, biology, business, sociology and anthropology — will really give the readers a more rounded view of stress,” she says.
She’d also like to see more articles from practitioners, perhaps through thought pieces, qualitative studies or empirical work that examines the success of stress interventions.
“It’s important that those who practice what we preach tell us whether what we’re studying is helpful,” she says.
Amy Novotney is a writer in Chicago.