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Health Effects on Leaders and Co-Workers of an Art-Based Leadership Development Program.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute.
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2010 (English)In: Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, ISSN 0033-3190, E-ISSN 1423-0348, Vol. 80, no 2, 78-87 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: There are very few evaluations of the effectiveness of leadership development programs. The purpose of the study was to examine whether an art-based leadership program may have a more beneficial effect than a conventional one on leaders' and their corresponding subordinates' mental and biological stress. Methods:Participating leaders were randomized to 2 year-long leadership programs, 1 art-based and 1 conventional, with follow-up of the leaders and their subordinates at 12 and 18 months. The art-based program built on an experimental theatre form, a collage of literary text and music, followed by writing and discussions focused on existential and ethical problems. Results: After 18 months a pattern was clearly visible with advantage for the art-based group. In the art group (leaders and their subordinates together as well as for subordinates only) compared to the conventional group, there was a significant improvement of mental health, covert coping and performance-based self-esteem as well as significantly less winter/fall deterioration in the serum concentration of the regenerative/anabolic hormone dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate. Conclusions:Our findings indicate a more beneficial long-term health effect of the art-based intervention compared to a conventional approach. Positive results for both standardized questionnaires and biological parameters strengthened the findings. The study provides a rationale for further evaluation of the effectiveness of this alternative educational approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 80, no 2, 78-87 p.
Keyword [en]
Leadership education, Psychosocial stress management, Cortisol, DHEA-s, Leadership culture, Workplace, Randomized controlled study
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-53676DOI: 10.1159/000321557ISI: 000287624500003PubMedID: 21196805Local ID: P2842OAI: diva2:391116
authorCount :6Available from: 2011-01-24 Created: 2011-01-24 Last updated: 2012-01-04Bibliographically approved

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Westerlund, HugoTheorell, Töres
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