Primary interventions are aimed at reducing or eliminating stressors in the workplace. This could include things like varying the physical conditions of the workplace, redesigning jobs, changing workplace structure, and implementing flexible work practices. Training in problem solving, cognitive reappraisal, increasing self-esteem and locus of control may also help.
Secondary interventions focus on peoples’ response to stressors and may include stress management training, nutrition advice, relaxation exercises, and exercise programs. Other programs suggested here are negotiation training, conflict resolution skills, and training in CBT. Supervisor support may also buffer the effects of stress.
Tertiary interventions are directed at symptoms, focusing on coping strategies. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)are now being seen with more frequency in Australian workplaces – either as an in-house service or an outsourced provider.
Occupational health research demonstrates that primary interventions, which focus more on prevention and take a systems approach across an entire organisation, tend to be most effective for stress management, followed by secondary interventions and then tertiary interventions. This finding supports the common-sense philosophy that it is better to prevent problems than to attempt to resolve them.