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Abstract

Data are presented on the use of social resources to reduce the negative effects of perceived job stress on the health of 26 psychiatric technicians who cared for severely and profoundly retarded residents of a state institution. Data were collected by participant observation, semistructured interviews, and the self-administered Cornell Medical Index. Sources of job stress were found to stem not from problems associated with the care of the retarded but rather from staff members' inability to control other critical aspects of their work. Staff with supportive work-based social networks reported significantly better health (as measured by the Cornell Medical Index) than those without such networks.