Chapter 9: Managing work stress: the research agenda
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The chapter starts by presenting a typology of SMI that includes the level and focus of the intervention before giving a brief overview of the evidence regarding SMI effectiveness with reference to this typology. We then consider a number of areas where there are identifiable gaps in the research evidence, including more recent approaches to SMI (e.g. creative arts-based interventions); the role of individual differences in SMI efficacy, which has received only limited attention in the literature to date; the use of biofeedback in SMI, which is emerging as a focus of interest as a result of advances in technology; and the nature of resilience, which many interventions - explicitly or implicitly - seek to promote . The chapter moves on to consider the need to focus on researching multi-modal SMI given that the approach of many organisations is to implement more than one SMI at the same time. Multi-modal SMI studies are required to provide insight into the relative effectiveness of multiple interventions rather than focusing on individual interventions as many studies have done to date. Consideration is then given to methodological issues when investigating SMI efficacy, with sections covering the ways in which SMI are implemented, the importance of considering contextual variables, the need for longitudinal research designs, the ways in which SMI data are sourced, and what outcomes should be considered for inclusion in studies of SMI effectiveness. The chapter concludes by considering the changes that have occurred in work and employment and the potential implications of these for SMI implementation and effectiveness.

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