Work-anxiety coping intervention improves work-coping perception while a recreational intervention leads to deterioration : Results from a randomized controlled trial

Work-anxieties are costly and need early intervention. The perception of being able to cope with work is a basic requirement for work ability. This randomized controlled trial investigates whether a cognitive behavioural, work-anxiety coping group intervention leads to better work-coping perception than an unspecific recreational group. Heterogeneous people in medical rehabilitation, who were due to return to work, were interviewed concerning their work-anxieties, and either randomly assigned to a work-anxiety coping group (n=85) or a recreational group (n=95). The participants (with an average of 50 years old (range 23-64); 51% women; 70% workers or employees, 25% academics, 5% unskilled) followed the group intervention for four or six sessions. The perceived work-coping was assessed by self-rating (Inventory for Job-Coping and Return Intention JoCoRi) after each group session. Although participants had a slight temporary decrease in work-coping after group session two (from M1=2.47 to M2 =2.28, dCohen=-0.22), the work-anxiety coping group led to the improvement of perceived work-coping over the intervention course (from M1=2.47 to M6=2.65, dCohen=0.18). In contrast, participants from the recreational group reported lower work-coping after six group sessions (from M1=2.26 to M6=2.02, dCohen=-0.18). It is considered that people with work-anxieties need training in work-coping. By focusing on recreation only, this may lead to deterioration of work-coping. Indeed, intervention designers should be aware of temporary deterioration (side-effects) when confronting participants with work-coping.


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License Holder: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology on 05. October 2017, available online:

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