Interventions

The model of ERI at work is useful in designing worksite stress prevention and health promotion programs. As a first step, stressful conditions at work can be measured in a standardized way using the psychometrically validated questionnaire available in a number of languages. As a second step, interventions measures can be derived from the model at the personal/interpersonal level and at the structural level.

At the personal/interpersonal level, techniques of stress management including stress inoculation through strengthening of psychological and interpersonal resources are indicated. In order to be effective these techniques need to address cognitions, attitudes and work-related motivations in addition to the rather non-specific relaxation techniques. Improved self-observation and perception of arousal, coping with anger and reinforced self-reliance are important elements of this type of intervention. Another application of stress prevention at the interpersonal level concerns the improvement of leadership skills among supervisors and superiors, in particular the awareness of an important role of esteem, recognition and appropriate feedback, as indicated by the ERI-model.

Structural measures of work site health promotion derived from this theoretical approach include the implementation of models of gain-sharing and of non-monitory incentives including options of flexible work time arrangements, comparatively high compensation contingent on performance, tailoring of promotion prospects and status according to achievements, improved job security and further measures of organisational and contractual fairness.

It is important to note that the creation of healthy work places produces economic benefits in the long run, in addition to beneficial effects on health and well being. Policy implications of the ERI model are not restricted to occupational life, but may be extended to the design of voluntary work and to ways of improving social capital within communities.

Key publications

Aust, B., Peter, R., Siegrist, J. et al. (1997). Stress Management in bus drivers: a pilot study based on the model of effort-reward imbalance. International Journal of Stress Management, 4, 297-305.

Bourbonnais, R., Brisson, C., Vinet, A., Vézina, M. and Lower, A. (2006). Development and implementation of a participative intervention to improve the psychosocial work environment and mental health in an acute care hospital. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 63, 326-334.

Bourbonnais R, Brisson C, Vézina M. (2011). Long-term effects of an intervention on psychosocial work factors among healthcare professionals in a hospital setting. Occup Environ Med; 68(7): 479–486.

Siegrist, J. (2000b). A Theory of Occupational Stress. In Dunham, J. (Ed.), Stress in the Workplace. Past, Present and Future, London: Whurr Publishers, pp. 63-66.

Siegrist, K. and Silberhorn, T. (1998). Stressabbau in Organisationen. Münster: LIT Verlag.

Other publications

Bourbonnais, R., Jauvin, N., Dussault, J. and Vézina, M. (2007). Psychosocial work environment, interpersonal violence at work and mental health among correctional officers. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 30, 355-368.

Kubik-Huch, R., Klaghofer, R., Rompler, M., Weber, A. and Buddeberg-Fischer, B. (2010). Workplace experience of radiographers: impact of structural and interpersonal interventions. European Radiology, 20, 377-384, doi: 10.1007/s00330-009-1565-5.

Limm H, Gündel H, Heinmüller M et al. (2011) Stress management interventions in the workplace improve stress reactivity: a randomized controlled trial. Occup Environ Med 68: 126-133.

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