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Penn State plays integral role in $35 million stress project
Date:4/30/2009

How employees manage stress at work and in their homes is the focus of Penn State's portion of a $35 million National Institutes of Health grant that will also test the efficacy of a workplace intervention designed to reduce employee stress and promote well-being.

"We're seeing that stress in the workplace can create a domino effect that can increase stress and reduce quality of life in families," says David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies, Penn State's College of Health and Human Development.

Almeida, Laura Klein, associate professor of biobehavioral health, and Susan McHale, professor of human development and director of the Social Science Research Institute, are the principal investigators of Penn State's research center within the recently established Work, Family and Health Network. Penn State's portion of this grant is about $5 million.

The project is groundbreaking because it goes beyond analyzing employees and managers. Researchers are measuring the amount of stress that spreads from work life to family life and testing an intervention that aims to minimize that transfer of stress. In doing so, researchers hope to improve the physical and psychological well-being of managers, employees and their families.

Penn State's primary role in this multi institutional project is to gather data using two methods -- analyzing saliva samples and the "daily diary" method of interviewing. The daily diary method, developed by Almeida and conducted through the Penn State Survey Research Center, targets a subsample of the study's 3,000 participants -- managers, employees and spouses and children of employees -- with a series of phone interviews. Participants will discuss the events of the day and report on stress levels, mood and physical discomfort. At the same time, researchers will analyze participants' saliva samples to measure the change in cortisol levels, a hormone that is a marker of bodily stress.

Researchers w
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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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