Effects of occupational stress management intervention programs: a meta-analysis

J Occup Health Psychol. 2008 Jan;13(1):69-93. doi: 10.1037/1076-8998.13.1.69.


A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the effectiveness of stress management interventions in occupational settings. Thirty-six experimental studies were included, representing 55 interventions. Total sample size was 2,847. Of the participants, 59% were female, mean age was 35.4, and average length of intervention was 7.4 weeks. The overall weighted effect size (Cohen's d) for all studies was 0.526 (95% confidence interval = 0.364, 0.687), a significant medium to large effect. Interventions were coded as cognitive-behavioral, relaxation, organizational, multimodal, or alternative. Analyses based on these subgroups suggested that intervention type played a moderating role. Cognitive-behavioral programs consistently produced larger effects than other types of interventions, but if additional treatment components were added the effect was reduced. Within the sample of studies, relaxation interventions were most frequently used, and organizational interventions continued to be scarce. Effects were based mainly on psychological outcome variables, as opposed to physiological or organizational measures. The examination of additional moderators such as treatment length, outcome variable, and occupation did not reveal significant variations in effect size by intervention type.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Male
  • Occupational Health*
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • United States