Study to evaluate the effectiveness of stress management workshops on response to general and occupational measures of stress R. J. L. Heron,* S. McKeown,11 J. A. Tomenson* and E. L. Teasdale* * Corporate Health & Safety, AstraZeneca; +Health Care Services, Cheadle Royal Hospital, Cheadle, Cheshire, UK; *Epidemiology Unit, ICI PLC, Northwich, Cheshire, UK This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of stress management training workshops within Zeneca Pharmaceuticals. The study was of cross-sectional design, comparing groups of workshop attendees and non-attendees. In addition, self-rated well-being scores of attendees were compared with results obtained pre-workshop and 2-3 months after the workshop. Employees participating in the study were drawn from the Manufacturing, Research and Development, Sales and Marketing sites of Zeneca Pharmaceuticals located in Cheshire, United Kingdom. Three hundred and ninety persons who had participated in stress management workshops since 1988 were matched for age, gender and department with an equal number of employees who had not attended stress management workshops. Outcome measures included self-rated well-being (as measured by the 3O-questtan General Health Questionnaire), knowledge of company guidance on the management of stress in staff, and an assessment of coping strategies. Subjects who had not attended a stress management workshop were much more likely to have a poor understanding of the principles of management of stress in staff [odds ratio (OR) = 8.3; 95% confidence interval (Cl) = 3.3-21.3] and more likely to have poor coping skills (OR = 2.8; Cl = 1.3-6.1). However, mean scores for the two measures were similar In attendees and non-attendees. Self-rating of current well-being was strongly associated with the life-events score, but not related to workshop attendance. The study Indicates that stress management training workshops reduce the prevalence of employees with a poor understanding of the principles of the management of stress in staff and with poor coping strategies. An improvement in the self-rated well-being observed shortly after the workshop was not sustained. Key words: Evaluation; stress; training. Occup. Med. Vol. 49, 451-457, 1999
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Received 14 January 1999; acctpud in final form 8 AprU 1999
INTRODUCTION Psychiatric health problems are common in the UK and one study reported that one in seven adults of working age had some sort of neurotic health problem in the week prior to the interview.1 Stress related to work has been increasingly cited as a cause of morbidity and is regarded as a contributory factor to accidents, job dissatisfaction and illnesses such as coronary heart disease, alcoholism Correspondence to: R. J. L Heron, Global Health & Hygiene Manager, Corporate Health and Safety, AstraZeneca Aldertey Park, AWertey Edge, Macctesfleld, Cheshire, SK10 4TF, UK. Tel: (+44) 01625 512278; Fax: (+44)01625 517824.
and hypertension.2 It has been estimated that 80 million days costing £3.7 billion are lost from work each year.3 Recent legal case law relating to breaches of health and safety obligations have caused employers to look more closely at the issue of work-related stress.4 Research carried out for the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into work-related stress,5 has identified contributory factors at home and work. In their guidance for employers, the HSE suggests that organizations adopt solutions in line with their particular company style.6 They advise employers to raise awareness and to take organizational approaches to stress management.
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Training to enable staff to manage pressures is also encouraged. Raising awareness of mental health issues in the...