Purpose: Occupational stress is a common health issue and it causes significant problems for many individuals and rehabilitation of stress is costly to society. A substantial part of the total costs of stress and stress related disorders are due to work absenteeism, work impairment, and loss of work productivity. Occupational stress appears to be especially frequent among low and mid-level managers. Research has shown that web-based behavioral health programs are effective for treating anxiety, depression and other health related issues. These programs increase accessibility of evidence-based interventions to individuals who are not able or willing to receive such in-person treatments. Stress management training has empirical support, but little data exists on its efficacy with stressed managers when delivered via the internet. In light of these observations we are currently conducting a randomized controlled trial of a guided and individualized, web-based, stress management program (iSTRESS) for stressed managers.
Methods: The participants are recruited by self-referral through advertisement in national newspapers and on the internet. The main inclusion criterion was stress as a primary diagnosis. Participants with comorbid diagnosis (anxiety, depression, insomnia) were also included as long as the stress diagnosis was considered primary. We aim to include a total of 100 participants and randomize them into two groups (iSTRESS or an attention control group) that will discuss stress-related topics in a web-based and moderated forum. Both programs will last for eight weeks and all participants will received a weekly mail contact with a psychologist. Participants will be evaluated on self-report measures, for stress (PSS), burnout (SMBQ), depression (MADRS), anxiety (BAI), insomnia (ISI) and other health-related issues. We will also measure health-economic aspects, such as: absenteeism, use of medication, and care.
Results: Analyses will be based on both study completers and intention to treat. Final pre-post treatment results will be available in December and 3 month follow-up in March 2014. Preliminary result from a previous small sample pilot (n=8) trail on the iSTRESS-program showed promising results on measures of stress at post-assessment (7 points improvement on the Perceived Stress Scale, pre=25).
Conclusions: To our knowledge this is the first controlled trail examining the efficacy of a web-based stress management program for managers. Final pre-post and 3 month follow-up treatment results will be available for presentation at the EAOHP 2014 conference.
Nottingham, UK: European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology , 2014. 125-126 p.
11th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology, 14-16 April, 2014.