Effectiveness and Moderators of an Internet-Based Mobile-Supported Stress Management Intervention as a Universal Prevention Approach: Randomized Controlled Trial

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Background: Emerging evidence indicates the effectiveness of internet-based mobile-supported stress management interventions (iSMIs) in highly stressed employees. It is yet unclear, however, whether iSMIs are also effective without a preselection process in a universal prevention approach, which more closely resembles routine occupational health care. Moreover, evidence for whom iSMIs might be suitable and for whom not is scarce. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the iSMI GET.ON Stress in a universal prevention approach without baseline inclusion criteria and to examine the moderators of the intervention effects. Methods: A total of 396 employees were randomly assigned to the intervention group or the 6-month waiting list control group. The iSMI consisted of 7 sessions and 1 booster session and offered no therapeutic guidance. Self-report data were assessed at baseline, 7 weeks, and at 6 months following randomization. The primary outcome was perceived stress. Several a priori defined moderators were explored as potential effect modifiers. Results: Participants in the intervention group reported significantly lower perceived stress at posttreatment (d=0.71, 95% CI 0.51-0.91) and at 6-month follow-up (d=0.61, 95% CI 0.41-0.81) compared to those in the waiting list control group. Significant differences with medium-to-large effect sizes were found for all mental health and most work-related outcomes. Resilience (at 7 weeks, P=.04; at 6 months, P=.01), agreeableness (at 7 weeks, P=.01), psychological strain (at 6 months, P=.04), and self-regulation (at 6 months, P=.04) moderated the intervention effects. Conclusions: This study indicates that iSMIs can be effective in a broad range of employees with no need for preselection to achieve substantial effects. The subgroups that might not profit had extreme values on the respective measures and represented only a very small proportion of the investigated sample, thereby indicating the broad applicability of GET.ON Stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22107
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number12
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 22.12.2021

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