Long-Term Effectiveness of Stress Management at Work: Effects of the Changes in Perceived Stress Reactivity on Mental Health and Sleep Problems Seven Years Later

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Feb 3;15(2):255. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15020255.


The reduction of stress reactivity resulting from stress management interventions prevents disorders and improves mental health, however, its long-term sustainability has been little examined. The objective of this study was, therefore, to determine the effectiveness of a stress management intervention, designed to improve stress reactivity, for mental health and sleep problems seven years later, using longitudinal data from 101 male industrial workers. Linear regressions estimated the adjusted effects of the changes in stress reactivity in general as well as in its six subdimensions (work overload, social conflict, social stress, failure at work, and anticipatory and prolonged reactivity) on depression, anxiety, and sleep problems seven years later. The improvement of the prolonged reactivity had positive effects on depression, anxiety, and sleep problems (unstandardized regression coefficients [Bs] ≥ 0.35, all p-values ≤ 0.01). Depression and sleep problems were further improved by a reduction of the reactivity to social conflicts (Bs ≥ 0.29, p-values < 0.05), and an improvement in the overall reactivity score positively influenced sleep problems (B = 0.07, p = 0.017). In conclusion, the improvement of stress reactivity resulting from a work stress intervention was effective and generally long-lasting in preventing mental health and sleep problems. The reduction of the prolonged reactivity seems of particular importance and efficient in inhibiting negative stress manifestations.

Keywords: long-term effectiveness; longitudinal; mental health; sleep problems; stress management intervention; stress reactivity; work stress.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health
  • Occupational Stress
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Perception
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workplace / psychology*
  • Young Adult