Stress is common among various organizations according to Richardson & Rothstein (2008). Early this year, Richardson & Rothstein (2008) study entitled “Effects of occupational stress management intervention programs: A meta-analysis” states that Selye, Hans (the father of stress) revealed that since stress is an unavoidable consequence of life; thus, organizations suffer its pervasive effects. The two added that under the prevailing conditions Americans are working longer and harder thereby increasing job stress and their average working hours were increased for 700 hours during the past decades.
The increased in the working hours has also dramatically increased sickness; work-related injuries and workplace turn over as a result of stress. Across the Atlantic Ocean, stress has inflicted and became the second highest cause of absenteeism among nonmanual worker in United Kingdom. For the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, it is reported that stress affects a third of the European working population; and in Australia, most states report an increasing number of annual workers’ compensation claims resulting from workplace stress. It is this regard that any organizations is now providing major portion of its total stress experienced by any workers as a consequence of their time spent on the job, the demands for performance, and the interaction with others in the workplace (Richardson & Rothstein, 2008).
Though this was the case in the above stated countries, the authors cited several authorities revealing that stress could be manage at bay although admitted in the same vein that it is impossible to eliminate it altogether. For once, a stress management intervention (SMI) is any activity or program initiated by an organization that focuses on reducing the stressors or on assisting individuals presence of work-related to minimize the negative outcomes of exposure to these stressors. Citing the study of Ivancevich, Matteson, Freedman, & Phillips (1990) revealed that through a SMI it may attempt to change these work-related factors, assist employees in minimizing the negative effects of these stressors, or both through an interventions that can target three different points in the stress cycle: (a) the intensity of stressors in the workplace, (b) the employee’s appraisal of stressful situations, or (c) the employee’s ability to cope with the outcomes.
For Richardson & Rothstein (2008), the above supposition of interventions may be classified as primary, secondary, or tertiary. Primary interventions attempt to alter the sources of stress at work–redesigning jobs to modify workplace stressors and increasing workers’ decision-making authority or providing coworker support groups. For secondary interventions, it attempts to reduce the severity of stress symptoms before they lead to serious health problems. And for tertiary interventions—such as employee assistance programs—are designed to treat the employee’s health condition via free and confidential access to qualified mental health professionals. Prevalent in the workplace today is the secondary prevention programs which aimed at the individual and involve instruction in techniques to manage and cope with stress (Richardson & Rothstein, 2008).
Various techniques were discussed along this line.
Richardson & Rothstein’s (2008) meta-analysis study was conducted and aimed at determining the stress management interventions’ effectiveness in occupational settings. There were thirty-six (36) experimental studies were included, representing 55 interventions, on 2,847 samples. Of the respondents, 59% were female, mean age was 35.4, and average length of intervention was 7.4 weeks. The study’s overall weighted effect size (Cohen’s d) for all studies was at 0.526 (95% confidence interval _ 0.364, 0.687), a significant medium to large effect.
Interventions were coded as cognitive– behavioral, relaxation, organizational, multimodal, or alternative.
The meta-analysis showed that intervention type played a moderating role on the given sub groups. Also, cognitive– behavioral programs consistently produced larger effects than other types of interventions, but if additional treatment components were added the effect was reduced. Within the sample of studies, relaxation interventions were most frequently used, and organizational interventions continued to be scarce. Effects were based mainly on psychological outcome variables, as opposed to physiological or organizational measures. The examination of additional moderators such as treatment length, outcome variable, and occupation did not reveal significant variations in effect size by intervention type.
The study showed that Stress Management Intervention (SMI) is a potent tool in minimizing stress at workplace. The above results had showed that through SMI, individual employees can be taught techniques to reduce their stress levels and alleviate symptoms of strain.
Researches along this line should be updated to give a responsive, timely and meaningful intervention to the stress pervasive in the work place.