Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Health Services Research and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

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

Sandra H van Oostrom123, Johannes R Anema1234*, Berend Terluin15, Anita Venema6, Henrica CW de Vet1 and Willem van Mechelen1234

Author affiliations

1 EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

4 Research Center for Insurance Medicine AMC-UWV-VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

5 Department of General Practice, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

6 TNO Quality of Life, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Health Services Research 2007, 7:127  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-7-127

Published: 15 August 2007

Abstract

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