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Tech Pros Are Worry-Warts, Says Study

Stressed out? IT professionals are an anxious crowd, says a new survey. But you probably didn't need a study to tell you that, right?

However, perhaps you didn't realize how stressed your colleagues actually are.

Two out of three IT managers say they're kept awake at night worrying about work, and 75% admit ongoing anxiety about application performance concerns, according to a recent online survey of 272 systems and applications managers conducted by TechWeb Network Research on behalf of OpTier, a provider of business transaction management software. InformationWeek.com is part of the TechWeb network.

Besides sleep problems, 25% of the responded reported suffering physical symptoms that they believe were the result of IT-related stress. Those symptoms include nausea, headaches, migraines, panic attacks, heart arrhythmia, and muscle twitches. And nightmares.

"IT people have jobs that have a lot of responsibility for a lot of reasons," says Terry Beehr, a Central Michigan University professor of psychology who researches stress issues. "If IT goes down, a lot of other departments can't do their work." There's a lot riding on the performance of IT, so professionals responsible for the technologies are often under pressure a great deal of the time. "IT is 24-by-7, plus that's combined with heavy workloads and work that needs to be done quickly," he says.

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