Work Stress and Coffee Breaks

There is an ongoing interest in the impact of work on people’s lives and health. Recent news coverage, such as this article in the Financial Times (paywall), particularly highlights the psychological impact of work on people. The focus on “psychological” impacts and “”cognitive” mechanisms that people apply to cope with stress and bullying at work obstructs access to the interactional practices that people employ to create more pleasant work environments and experiences at work. In symbolic interactionism and related work in particular Arlie Russell Hochschild has famously studied “emotion work”. Recently, Pernilie Stroebaeck’s article “Let’s have a cup of Coffee” (published in Vol.36(4) of Symbolic Interaction) has taken up the topic in a different way by exploring how workers use coffee breaks as opportunities to deal with stress and work and to form “coping communities”.


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The Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (SSSI) is an international professional organization of scholars interested in the study of a wide range of social issues with an emphasis on identity, everyday practice, and language.
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