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Development of a workplace intervention for sick-listed employees with stress-related mental disorders: Intervention Mapping as a useful tool

Author: Oostrom, S.H. van · Anema, J.R. · Terluin, B. · Venema, A. · Vet, H.C.W. de · Mechelen, W. van
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:BMC Health Services Research, 7
Identifier: 240243
doi: doi:10.1186/1472-6963-7-127
Article number: 127
Keywords: Veilig en Gezond Werken · Cost effectiveness analysis · Employee · Health practitioner · Human · Intervention study · Interview · Mental disease · Mental stress · Methodology · Occupational health · Self concept · Cooperation · Health care quality · Hnformation processing · Medical leave · Organization · Organization and management · Practice guideline · Program development · Psychological aspect · Statistics · Clinical Protocols · Cooperative Behavior · Focus Groups · Guidelines · Health Services Research · Humans · Interviews · Mental Disorders · Netherlands · Occupational Health Services · Organizational Innovation · Patient Care Planning · Program Development · Program Evaluation · Self Efficacy · Sick Leave · Stress, Psychological · Workplace


Background. To date, mental health problems and mental workload have been increasingly related to long-term sick leave and disability. However, there is, as yet, no structured protocol available for the identification and application of an intervention for stress-related mental health problems at the workplace. This paper describes the structured development, implementation and planning for the evaluation of a return-to-work intervention for sick-listed employees with stress-related mental disorders (SMDs). The intervention is based on an existing successful return-to-work intervention for sick-listed employees with low back pain. Methods. The principles of Intervention Mapping were applied to combine theory and evidence in the development, implementation and planning for the evaluation of a participatory workplace intervention, aimed at an early return-to-work for sick-listed employees with SMDs. All stakeholders were involved in focus group interviews: i.e. employees recently sick-listed with SMDs, supervisors and occupational health professionals. Results. The development of the participatory workplace intervention according to the Intervention Mapping principles resulted in a structured return-to-work intervention, specifically tailored to the needs of sick-listed employees with SMDs. Return-to-work was proposed as a behavioural change, and the Attitude - Social influence - self-Efficacy model was identified as a theoretical framework. Stakeholder involvement in focus group interviews served to enhance the implementation. The cost-effectiveness of the intervention will be evaluated in a randomised controlled trial. Conclusion. Intervention Mapping was found to be a promising method to develop interventions tailored to a specific target group in the field of occupational health. Trial registration. ISRCTN92307123. © 2007 van Oostrom et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.