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Original Research Articles

Work stress among information technology professionals in Sri Lanka


M. P. Wijeratne ,

Additional Medical Officer of Health, Mahara, LK
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G. N. L. Galappaththy

Anti Malaria Campaign, LK
About G. N. L.
Consultant Community Physician
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This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of psychological distress, to describe the work stress and selected factors associated with it and coping strategies of stress among Information Technology professionals in the private sector of Sri Lanka.



A descriptive cross sectional study was carried out to 01eet these objectives. The selection of the sample was done using cluster sampling with probability proportionate to size. IT professionals in IT organizations (private sector) who have work experience more than one year at present station were included as study subjects. The study instrument which was a self administered questionnaire (developed as an electronic form with HTML) consisted of four pans; a validated version of a 30 item general health questionnaire (30 GHQ), a questionnaire on socio-demographic and work related factors, a work stress assessment questionnaire and a questionnaire on coping strategies.


Results .

The majority of participants were of a younger age group with a mean age of 30 years and Sinhalese. Male preponderance was observed. The proportion of unmarried participants was higher. There were 43% of IT graduates, 20% of non-IT graduates making the bulk of the study sample. A higher proportion (57%) of participants were in the Rs. 20,000 - 45,000 monthly income categories. It was observed that 55% of participants were doing extra duty of more than five hours per week. Only 5% of participants were paid for extra duty. The prevalence of psychological distress (GHQ score > 6) among IT professionals was 41%. Excessive workload, Jack of rewards, lack of opportunity to career development and organizational decision regarding deadlines were main stressors for majority of participants in the study group. There is a statistically significant (p<0.001) association between psychological distress and work stress. Factors associated with high level of work stress were age, marital status, employment status of spouse, health problems, years of service at present organization, extra-work hours and weekend duty. Higher proportion of participants had adopted problem focused harmless coping strategies to overcome stress.



Psychological distress and work stress among It professionals should be recognised as a priority health problem. Organization culture should be more worker friendly and stress management training programs should be conducted at organizational level to encourage effective coping strategies to overcome stress specially for the benefit of IT professionals who had adopted harmful stress coping methods.

How to Cite: Wijeratne, M.P. and Galappaththy, G.N.L., 2007. Work stress among information technology professionals in Sri Lanka. Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka, 12, pp.7–19. DOI:
Published on 26 Dec 2007.
Peer Reviewed


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