Introduction Many paid workers who fulfil informal care responsibilities in their private situation report stress complaints and impaired functioning at work. It was examined whether a newly developed role-focused self-help intervention decreases caregiver stress and distress, and work functioning problems, in these workers.
Methods A study that had a randomised controlled design (intervention vs wait-list control) was conducted. Workers suffering stress due to involvement in informal care activities were participants (n=128). The workers allocated to the intervention group received the role-focused self-help course. The workers allocated to the control group received the intervention after all measurements. Caregiver stress (primary outcome), distress, work functioning, care-to-work interference, and care-to-social and personal life interference, were measured prior to the random allocation (pre-test) and one (post-test 1) and two (post-test 2) months after allocation. Mixed Model ANOVAs and mediation analyses were used in data-analysis.
Results The mixed model ANOVAs showed that two months after allocation the workers allocated to the intervention group had decreased levels of caregiver stress and distress as compared to the workers allocated to the no treatment control group. Further, the mediation analysis suggested that involvement in the intervention decreases functioning problems in workers who have informal care responsibilities because it reduces caregiver stress.
Discussion The role-focused self-help course intervention decreases levels of caregiver stress and distress in workers who suffer stress due to involvement in informal care activities. Because of this effect, the intervention also plays a role in the work functioning of these types of workers. The intervention represents a contribution to the literature and a means for occupational health professionals and organisations to contribute to the health and functioning of workers who combine paid work with informal care activities
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