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Occupational stress management: a review and appraisal.

Murphy LR
J Occup Psychol 1984 Mar; 57(1):1-15
Studies evaluating the effectiveness of occupational stress management programs are reviewed. Work site stress management studies are compared as to type of work group, orientation and format of program, methods of stress management, non specific effects found, and long term benefits and maintenance of skills. Although most programs studied have involved predominantly white collar workers, blue collar workers appear to be as successful in learning relaxation skills. Most reported studies have a preventive orientation rather than a therapeutic one, though some means of selecting study subjects make such classification difficult. Stress management and prevention programs vary widely in number of instructional sessions, contact hours, training method, opportunities for skill practice, and individual or group instruction. In general, studies using more contact hours report larger reductions in physiological measures and self reported stress symptoms. Muscle relaxation, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral skills training, and various combinations of these demonstrate effectiveness in clinical or laboratory settings for reducing arousal and psychological signs of stress. Four of 13 studies reported do not include a comparison group in evaluation of program benefits. Significant differences in physiological measures reported for comparisons following a period of study may be a result of taking time out of the work day or feelings that management is concerned about workers. All eight studies that included a follow up program showed some durability of self report effects. The relationship between practice frequency and reported benefits is not clear. The author concludes that a variety of stress management techniques can be effective in helping workers reduce physiological arousal and psychological manifestations of stress.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-health-programs; Job-stress; Professional-workers; Mental-health; Occupational-psychology; Training; Psychological-effects; Attitude; Worker-motivation; Emotional-stress; Mental-stress
Lawrence R. Murphy, Applied Psychology and Ergonomics Branch, NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA
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Journal Article
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Journal of Occupational Psychology
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division