Psychosocial interventions in workplace mental health promotion: an overview

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Abstract

A review based on the DataPrev final report concerning workplace mental health promotion is presented. Out of 4865 studies identified in a comprehensive bibliographical data search, 315 were selected for abstract screening and 79 were included in the final review. The studies were categorized in terms of their aims/expected outcomes and evaluated for quality on the grounds of their design and type of analysis. The most frequent aims were stress reduction and better coping, followed by increased job satisfaction and effectiveness, mental health enhancement and reduction in mental health-related absenteeism. In the 79 intervention studies, 99 outcome variables were measured using 163 instruments, mostly developed for the study purposes. Different intervention categories turned out to be used to attain the same aim, with skills training being the most popular (other approaches included improvement of occupational qualifications and working conditions, physical exercise, relaxation and multicomponent interventions). Among the few intervention programs that were implemented and evaluated in two or more studies, the Stress Inoculation Training (Cecil and Forman, in Effects of stress inoculation training and coworker support groups on teachers' stress. Journal of School Psychology, 28, 105, 1990) based on the model by Meichenbaum (Meichenbaum, in Stress Inoculation Training. Pergamon Press, New York, 1985) seemed to be the most promising. Its effectiveness, evidenced in a majority of the measures, was evaluated in studies using the randomized controlled design. This paper is illustrated by high-quality intervention studies. In high and moderate quality studies, positive effects were reported in about a half of the examined outcome variables. However, conclusive evidence of intervention programs effectiveness would require further research—repetition of studies using treatments equivalent to the experimental ones, and outcome evaluation taking into account other criteria, e.g. behavioural.

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