Of the 872 participants who received the intervention, 90 percent were women. The perceived work-related health effects were not limited to particular groups of workers: 36 percent held the highest occupational positions, and 35 percent were in service work or manual jobs.
Although the authors stress that their findings may not hold true beyond Finland, the study will shine a spotlight on similar, work-related interventions. These tend to be either individual-based, offering tools in areas such as healthy lifestyle or stress management; or they are work-directed, and might include changes in working environment or organization. To date, solid evidence for the effectiveness of either type of intervention is limited.
Perceived health is a strong predictor and marker of morbidity, work disability, and mortality. Almost one in three workers complains of psychological distress, tiredness, or anxiety, estimated to cause an annual loss of at least EUR 20 billion in the European states.
This most widely used multidisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation programme in Finland primarily aims to prevent work capacity deteriorating in physically, mentally, or socially stressful occupations at an early stage, before illnesses causing work disability develop. It may be that the programme simply isn't reaching those who need it most - the study authors note that those put forward for the intervention were often highly educated, satisfied employees who are not exposed to severe stress or do not perceive stress-related symptoms.
"Our results suggest that the vocationally oriented, individual-based multidisciplinary prevention programme focused on in this study may not be effective in improving perceived health," said the leading author Mikhail Saltychev, Department of Rehabilitation, Turk
|Contact: Jayne Fairley|