Recent research has suggested that even mild levels of stress can result in long-term disability.
Conducted by academics at the University of Bristol and the Karolinkska Institutet in Stockholm, the study found that the impact of milder symptoms of stress may have been underestimated.
More the 17,000 working-age adults, randomly selected from the population in the Stockholm area, were tracked between 2002 and 2007.
During this time, 649 people started to receive long-term disability benefits, 203 of whom received them for a mental health problem.
Those who were awarded these long-term disability benefits were significantly more likely to have demonstrated higher levels of stress at the start of the study.
Even those with mild stress were shown to be 70 per cent more likely to receive the benefits, even after social status, health problems, lifestyle and alcohol intake were taken into account.
Dr Dheeraj Rai, lead author and clinical lecturer at Bristol, commented: "We know conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders are very disabling.
"But in a lot of people stress-related symptoms are not severe enough to meet the thresholds to be diagnosed with these conditions. The study found that these people were also at an increased risk of long-term disability."