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Effectiveness of a participative intervention on psychosocial work factors to prevent mental health problems in a hospital setting


Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of a workplace intervention aimed at reducing adverse psychosocial work factors (psychological demands, decision latitude, social support, and effort-reward imbalance) and mental health problems among care providers.

Methods: A quasi-experimental design with a control group was used. Pre-intervention (71% response rate), and one-year post-intervention measures (69% response rate) were collected by telephone interviews.

Results: One year after the intervention, there was a reduction of several adverse psychosocial factors in the experimental group, whereas no such reduction was found in the control group. However, there was a significant deterioration of decision latitude and social support from supervisors in both experimental and control groups. There was also a significant reduction in sleeping problems and work related burnout in the experimental hospital, whereas only sleeping problems decreased in the control group while both client related and personal burnout increased in this hospital. The comparison between the experimental and control groups, after adjusting for pre-intervention measures, showed a significant difference in the means of all psychosocial factors except decision latitude. All other factors were better in the experimental group.

Conclusion: Results suggest positive effects of the intervention, even though only 12 months have passed since the beginning of the intervention. Follow up at 36 months is necessary to evaluate whether observed effects are maintained over time. In light of these results, we believe that continuing the participative process in the experimental hospital will foster the achievement of a more important reduction of adverse psychosocial factors at work. It is expected that the intensity of the intervention will be directly related to its beneficial effects. Long term effects will however depend on the willingness of management and of staff to appropriate the process of identifying what contributes to adverse psychosocial factors at work and to adopt means to reduce them.

  • psychosocial work environment
  • primary prevention intervention
  • evaluative research
  • quasi-experimental design
  • longitudinal

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