Los Angeles, CA (December 2nd, 2011) Most of us would agree that prevention is better than cure. But new results out in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation, published by SAGE, indicate that a costly intervention programme designed to reduce early retirement on health grounds in Finland had no measurable effect.
The research was a large scale evaluative study of vocational rehabilitation, which followed 872 participants and their 2440 matched controls for up to nine years. The participants went through a four-week prevention programme incorporating physical and psychological health education and support. It aimed to help participants adopt a healthier lifestyle, and to achieve greater aerobic capacity, muscle strength and endurance, and to better manage their own stress.
This research was part of the Finnish Public Sector Study, an ongoing prospective study among employees working in 10 towns and 21 hospitals in Finland. Among other data, researchers gathered information on psychosocial factors at work, individual factors, health, and health behaviors. All of the participants were linked to employers' records and national health registers.
When the researchers compared how frequently participants and controls complained suboptimal health, psychological distress, and anxiety, there was no significant difference. After the intervention there was also no significant difference between scores for the groups, either in the short term (on average after 1.7 years) or in the longer term (on average followed up after almost six years or in some cases for up to nine years).
The four week programme is widely used in Finland in a bid to reduce early retirement on health grounds. But this study suggests that the programme had little effect, either in the short or long term, on how those who took part perceived their health. The intervention would typically involve a physician, a physiotherapist, a psychologist, a social worker, and a v
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