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Introduction to Prevention

“A wide variety of interventions and prevention programs have been developed and used in order to reduce job stressors and the health problems they cause. These interventions can be carried out at the level of the job, throughout the organization, at a more personal level, or at a state or national level through laws and regulations. It is important that the effects of interventions be carefully observed, measured, and documented [81].

Work organization and job stressors are also shaped by the competition employers face in the global economy. Thus, solutions to the problem will also need to be international in scope. The European-wide regulations and labor-management agreements that deal with job stress are one example of solutions achieved through national regulations while addressing organizational levels, and which are international in scope by encompassing all of the countries of the European Union. While more research on the effectiveness of different types of interventions would always be useful, the existing research allows us to draw various conclusions. For one, effective interventions tend to be those involving “systems approaches,” which focus on both primary prevention, that is, changing the causes of work stress, such as work schedules and workload, and include secondary and tertiary levels of prevention, with programs to help employees suffering symptoms of stress or who have become ill due to job stressors.

Additionally, the existing research allows us to conclude that effective interventions also involve meaningful participation of employees, increasing employees’ job control, and ensuring top management support. We should continue to be persistent and creative in developing, carrying out, and evaluating workplace changes designed to improve workers’ health. Listening to employees about their concerns, their pain, and the solutions they recommend is a key principle of this effort. The following chapters provide some excellent and more detailed examples of interventions carried out to reduce stress and create healthier work—and workers.”

81. Semmer, N., Commentary II. Health Related Interventions in Organizations: Stages, Levels, Criteria and Methodology, Soz-Praventivmed, 49:89-91, 2004.

Taken from: Schnall PL, Dobson M, Rosskam E, Editors Unhealthy Work: Causes, Consequences, Cures. Baywood Publishing, 2009.

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