Work-related stress : management methods and collaboration between occupational health service and workplaces in Finland

Maritta Kinnunen-Amoroso

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Work-related stress is the main risk factor to employees health. Therefore, organisations, with collaboration from the occupational health service (OHS), must strive to prevent or reduce stress factors in the workplace. Several studies have been conducted about work-related stress factors and their influence on employees psychological and physical well-being at work. Research has also indicated how to deal with work-related stress on both the individual and the organisational level, but information about actions in practice for handling work-related stress between the workplace and OHS is lacking. The employers have the responsibility to assess and to draw up measures to the work-related stress. They can use external resources as OHS to this if needed. The aim of this study was to clarify the collaboration between workplaces and OHS related to work-related stress and the methods to assess and manage stress. Preliminary study questions were generated through semi-structured interviews of 10 volunteer occupational physicians and 8 volunteer occupational nurses in the metropolitan area of Finland in May-June 2009. The interviews were analysed by qualitative methods. Based on this information, a questionnaire was developed for the cross-sectional study. The survey study was realised by email among Finnish occupational nurses and physicians, with 207 physicians and 335 nurses responding. Another self-administered email questionnaire based on the previous study was sent to a sample of enterprises (n=40) in the Finnish metropolitan area in May 2010. The data from these two questionnaires were analysed quantitatively using the SPSS 17.0 statistical programme. Work-related stress was well known to all participants. The OH specialists experienced that work stress was difficult to handle. Neither the OHS nor their client enterprises had standardised tools for assessing or handling work-related stress. Assessments of work-related stress were mostly made at the individual level with open interviews by OH. The management methods mentioned were often random at both the individual and organisational level, although actions remained mainly on the individual level to support the individual and were rarely allocated to the organisation. Collaboration between the workplace and OHS varied by mode of organising these services. All respondents mentioned the lack of administrative support for interventions for work-related stress. Standardised agreed-upon methods for assessing and handling stress at both the individual and organisational level should be developed. The procedures should be consistent across all occupational health service teams and companies to ensure the adoption of appropriate protocols.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs978-951-51-2299-5
Electronic ISBNs978-951-51-2300-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

  • 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health

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