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Meta-analysis of the effects of health promotion intervention in the workplace on depression and anxiety symptoms


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Martin, AJ and Sanderson, Kristy and Cocker, Fiona (2008) Meta-analysis of the effects of health promotion intervention in the workplace on depression and anxiety symptoms. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health. ISSN 0355-3140

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Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate whether different types of health promotion intervention in the workplace reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature was undertaken on workplace health promotion
published during the period 1997–2007. Studies were considered eligible for inclusion if they evaluated the impact of an intervention using a valid indicator or specific measure of depression or anxiety symptoms. The standardized mean difference was calculated for each of the following three types of outcome measures: depression,
anxiety, and composite mental health.
Results: Altogether 22 studies were found that met the inclusion criteria, with a total sample size of 3409 employees
postintervention, and 17 of these studies were included in the meta-analysis, representing 20 intervention–
control comparisons. The pooled results indicated small, but positive overall effects of the interventions with respect to symptoms of depression [SMD 0.28, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.12–0.44] and anxiety (SMD 0.29, 95% CI 0.06–0.51), but no effect on composite mental health measures (SMD 0.05, 95% CI -0.03–0.13). The interventions that included a direct focus on mental health had a comparable effect on depression and anxiety symptoms, as did the interventions with an indirect focus on risk factors.
Conclusions: When the aim is to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in employee populations, a broad range of health promotion interventions appear to be effective, although the effect is small.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: anxiety symptom; depression risk; depression symptom; employee; health promotion; intervention; mental health; meta-analysis; systematic review; workplace
Journal or Publication Title: Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
ISSN: 0355-3140
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2008 22:04
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:54
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