Evaluation and Comparison of Relaxation-Related Workplace Interventions Among Office Workers at an Insurance Institution: An Intervention Study

Author: Heidi Lehmann1,2, Nelly Otte1, Thomas Kraus1, André Esser1, Julia Krabbe1
1 RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
2 Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Energy, Textile, Electrical and Media Products Sectors (BG ETEM), Köln, Germany.
Conference/Journal: Inquiry
Date published: 2024 Jan-Dec
Other: Volume ID: 61 , Pages: 469580241242793 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/00469580241242793. , Word Count: 251

Relaxation-related workplace interventions can be counterstrategies for stress due to office work and should be evaluated for success after implementation. This study reports on the evaluation and comparison of 3 relaxation techniques introduced as an intervention for health promotion. A Germany-wide multicenter evaluation of a 3-month relaxation intervention (30 min, once a week) including autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) or Tai Chi was conducted at 14 locations as an intervention study. Anonymous questionnaires (n = 244) were used to collect self-reports of perceived stress after the courses. Status before the courses (pre) and after completion (post) were reported at the end of the intervention. All 3 relaxation techniques were able to improve the subjective perception of stress (SPS) score. Autogenic training was reported to improve all singular items with large effects, whereas only 2 items showed change for Tai Chi and none for PMR. Singular items were also influenced by the location of the courses. All 3 methods were able to improve stress-related outcomes in terms of stress perception and individual aspects of stress management. For this specific intervention autogenic training yielded the largest and wide-ranging effects. Tai Chi was also effective, but additional effect due to an associated increase in physical activity were not found. For a workplace intervention PMR could not be recommended based on this study. The literature on workplace interventions is surprisingly scarce, and future studies should focus on the selection of appropriate participants while avoiding potential bias.

Keywords: Tai Chi; autogenic training; health promotion; progressive muscle relaxation; relaxation-related intervention; workplace intervention.

PMID: 38591360 DOI: 10.1177/00469580241242793