Searle, B., Tuckey, M. and Brough, P. (2022), "Guest editorial: Are challenges hindering us? The limitations of models that categorize work stressors", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 397-403.

Work stressors are work characteristics or experiences that provoke stress responses. For many years, different types of work stressors were studied independently of one another and were treated as distinct in their qualities, mechanisms and effects (Warr, 1987). Even studies examining multiple stressors tended to assess them independently, in order to reveal their relative risks (as with research on role overload, role ambiguity and role conflict, e.g. Goode, 1960; Kahn and Quinn, 1970; Rizzo et al., 1970).

Over the past 50 years, research in applied psychology and management has become less exploratory and more hypothetico-deductive (Spector, 2017). This has driven efforts to develop, refine and use predictive models broad enough to explain fundamental psychological processes with reference to phenomena that are meaningful across diverse contexts. To this end, models emerged that aggregate multiple work stressors into a few distinct categories. This special issue focuses largely on the Challenge-Hindrance model, but many observations can be applied to other models of this type.