Stress management therapies may lower risk of death from heart disease

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News - Workplace Stress

Sunday, 13 February 2011 16:00

Stress management therapies may lower risk of death from heart diseaseResearchers at Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden have conducted a study, which suggests that patients with heart disease may lower their risk of death or heart attack by participating in cognitive behavior therapy for stress management.

For the study, scientists divided 362 individuals who had experienced a coronary heart event during the previous year into two groups: one that took part in 20 two-hour therapy sessions over one year, and another group that received traditional care.

After 94 months, the researchers observed that those who received stress management therapy had a 41 percent lower rate of fatal or non-fatal heart events and a 28 percent lower risk of death.

Results of the study - which was published in Archives of Internal Medicine - suggest that employee wellness programs that focus on stress management tools and resources may be very beneficial to an organization. In addition to keeping workers happy, employers may also curb costs stemming from employee health benefits and absenteeism by implementing wellness programs.

Authors of the study noted that 30 percent of an individual's heart attack risk is psychosocial. This includes socioeconomic status, marital happiness, anger levels and workplace stress.  

Insomnia may be alleviated with behavioral counseling

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News - Wellness News

Thursday, 10 February 2011 16:00

Insomnia may be alleviated with behavioral counselingResearch that was published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that people who have trouble sleeping may find relief - and some much needed rest - by taking part in just a few behavioral counseling sessions.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers examined 79 adults who were divided into two groups: one received two in-person and two phone counseling sessions with a clinician and the other was given literature on insomnia and sleep habits.

Individuals who participated in counseling sessions were more than 40 percent more likely to have had a favorable response to the treatment or eliminated their insomnia altogether.

Sleep disturbances have been shown to lead to elevated levels of stress during the day. Results of this study suggest that organizations that offer employee wellness programs that address sleep disorders may be helping to reduce workplace stress.

Authors of the study noted that focusing on behavioral aspects of insomnia and sleep patterns may remove some of the stigma behind treatments that have traditionally been thought of as psychological.

The National Sleep Foundation estimates that as many as 47 million Americans are not getting adequate sleep at night. The organization also said that these individuals are more likely to get involved in accidents, experience road rage and engage in arguments with others.  

Jet-lag may cause memory disturbances

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News - Employee Wellness

Thursday, 10 February 2011 16:00

Jet-lag may cause memory disturbancesResearch conducted at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that flight attendants and employees who frequently travel between time zones may suffer from long-term memory loss due to jet-lag.

Scientists examined hamsters who were subjected to six-hour time shifts twice a week for a month and found that the rodents experienced impaired learning and memory function when compared with a control group.

Furthermore, the time changes affected cell maturation in the hippocampus region of the animals' brains, and negative effects lasted for more than four weeks.

Results of the study suggest that airlines and organizations with employees who make frequent business trips across time zones should take steps to reduce workplace stress. Employee wellness programs can include tools and resources on stress management and healthy sleep patterns.

"The evidence is overwhelming that disruptions in circadian timing have a direct impact on human health and disease," said Lance Kriegsfeld, the study's co-author.

In addition to providing stress relief tools to employees, organizations may also want to ensure that workers receive comprehensive health benefits to maintain a healthy staff.  

Night duty and long surgeries cause stress levels in physicians to rise

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News - Workplace Stress

Thursday, 10 February 2011 16:00

Night duty and long surgeries cause stress levels in physicians to riseScientists at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Japan examined the stress levels of doctors at 16 different hospitals. They found that the two biggest sources of anxiety for surgeons are working the night shift and performing long surgeries in which the patient loses excessive amounts of blood.

The doctors were given questionnaires to fill out and their urine was tested for levels of biopyrin, a compound that appears in the body when an individual is under stress.

Results of the study suggest that hospitals should be cognizant of workplace stress and make efforts to boost employee performance and well-being through monitoring of working conditions, especially for those on night duty.

"The present study demonstrated the stress of night duty on surgeons subjectively and objectively. Surgeons' working conditions, including night duty, should be improved to enhance the quality of life for surgeons, resulting in fewer errors in operations and medical treatments and better medical services for patients," said study authors.

Healthcare facilities may also benefit from implementing employee wellness programs that focus on stress relief and healthy sleep patterns to reduce workplace stress. 

Employees in hazardous occupations may require interactive training

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News - Employee Performance

Thursday, 10 February 2011 16:00

Employees in hazardous occupations may require interactive trainingResearch that was recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology suggests that individuals who work in occupations that pose physical health risks are better able to avoid accidents if they receive interactive training.

Authors of the review looked at 113 different studies conducted over the past 40 years that pertain to safety training, and found that hands-on methods were significantly more effective than instruction that only involved lectures, reading materials or video presentations.

Results of the study suggest that employers in hazardous industries should consider implementing employee training programs that allow workers to engage in simulation or behavioral modeling to help reduce workplace stress and prevent deadly mistakes.

"In a more interactive training environment, the trainees are faced more acutely with the possible dangers of their job and they are, in turn, more motivated to learn about such dangers and how to avoid them," said Dr. Michael Burke, the study's lead author.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has reported that dangerous working conditions are a major factor in workplace stress. The institute recommended implementing specialized training for in-house staff to educate workers and reduce stress and mistakes. 

Authors of the study noted that while training via lectures and videos is less expensive for employers, human and medical costs stemming from a a major on-the-job error could be far greater.  

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