Negative work perception not changed in a short work-anxiety-coping group therapy intervention

Background: Work-anxiety is disabling and often associated with long-term sick leave. Early intervention is therefore necessary. Work-anxieties are associated with a negative work perception. Therefore one aim in early intervention is a cognitive reframing of dysfunctional perceptions of workplace characteristics. Methods: A psychotherapeutic specialist conducted two group programs of four sessions each. One hundred twenty-three rehabilitation inpatients with work-anxieties were randomly assigned either to a work-anxiety-coping group or to a recreational group. The Short Questionnaire for Work Analysis (KFZA) was administered before and after the group treatment to measure perceptions of working conditions. Results: Participants from the work-anxiety-coping-group did not see their work in a significantly more positive light at the end of the intervention compared to participants from the recreational group (interaction of repeated measurement * intervention: p= .177 – .971, Cohen´s d for comparison of change from beginning to the end of rehabilitation = 0.00 – 0.23). Conclusions: A short work-anxiety-coping-group did not initiate a consistent positive re-appraisal of work in this study population. Employers and occupational physicians should not expect positive changes of work perception when an employee returns from short medical rehabilitation, even in cases in which work-directed treatment was completed. Additional support from the workplace must be considered, e.g. employer-physician-employee-conversation preceding return to work, or (temporary) work adjustment. The aim should be to overcome return to work-barriers in the form of negative work perception.


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License Holder: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health on 05. October 2016, available online:

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