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A Systematic Review of the Effects of Stress and Coping Strategies used by Occupational Therapists Working in Mental Health Settings

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A systematic review of the research literature published in the United Kingdom between 1966 and 2000 was carried out to determine the effectiveness of stress management interventions for occupational therapists working in mental health settings. Studies from other countries were examined as potential models of good practice. The review was limited to primary research papers that involved occupational therapists working in the mental health arenas, where the health outcomes measured were stressors, moderators and stress outcomes and where sufficient data were provided.

The initial search identified 30 papers, of which 13 met the inclusion criteria. One study has been reported since the completion of the review and has been included in this article. All the papers focused on the stressors, moderators and stress outcomes. There was no paper that specifically investigated the effectiveness of stress management interventions for occupational therapists working in the mental health arena. The only literature available was aimed at the occupational therapy profession as a whole and was in the form of a number of recommendations at an organisational and an individual level. Methodological flaws, however, detracted from the rigour of many of the studies.

The review demonstrated that a great deal is known about the sources of stress at work, about how to measure stress and about the impact of stress on a range of outcome indicators. What was found to be lacking was a translation of these results either into practice or into research that assessed the impact of interventions that attempted to moderate, minimise or eliminate some of these stressors.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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