Proportionately higher rates of work stress compensation claims in the public sector, and the media's portrayal of stress in the public sector as an epidemic has fuelled the commonly held notion that stress levels are higher in the public sector. However, reports from the research literature are somewhat contradictory. Using a heterogeneous community sample of public (N = 84) and private (N = 143) sector employees, we found no difference between sectors on levels of stress (psychological distress, job satisfaction). Using the Demand-Control-Support (DCS) model to operationalise psychosocial risk and the work stress process we found no difference on levels of risk by sector, however public sector workers reported higher levels of control. For psychological distress we found clear support for a DC interaction effect. Further support for an interactive DCS by sector (4 way) effect was found, with social support operating differently between the sectors. For job satisfaction a DCS main effects model was found in both sectors. The results also showed important differences in stress levels between gender and job categories. The study challenges the commonly held notion that work stress is only a public sector phenomenon.