Objective The aim of the present study was to compare the effectiveness and acceptability of three interventions for occupational stress. Methods/design A total of 90 National Health Service employees were randomized to face-to-face counselling or telephone counselling or bibliotherapy. Outcomes were assessed at post-intervention and 4-month follow-up. Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (CORE), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) were used to evaluate intervention outcomes. An intention-to-treat analyses was performed. Results Repeated measures analysis revealed significant time effects on all measures with the exception of CORE Risk. No significant group effects were detected on all outcome measures. No time by group significant interaction effects were detected on any of the outcome measures with the exception of CORE Functioning and GHQ total. With regard to acceptability of interventions, participants expressed a preference for face-to-face counselling over the other two modalities. Conclusions Overall, it was concluded that the three intervention groups are equally effective. Given that bibliotherapy is the least costly of the three, results from the present study might be considered in relation to a stepped care approach to occupational stress management with bibliotherapy as the first line of intervention, followed by telephone and face-to-face counselling as required
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