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      Promoting the Self-Regulation of Stress in Health Care Providers: An Internet-Based Intervention

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          Abstract

          The aim of our internet-based intervention study was to find out whether healthcare professionals can autonomously down-regulate the stress they experience at their workplace, using an established self-regulation tool called Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions (MCII). Applying MCII to reduce stress implied for our participants to repeatedly engage in a mental exercise that (1) required specifying a wish related to reducing stress, (2) identifying and imagining its most desired positive outcome, (3) detecting and imagining the obstacle that holds them back, and (4) coming up with an if-then plan on how to overcome it. We recruited on-line nurses employed at various health institutions all over Germany, and randomly assigned participants to one of three groups. In the MCII group ( n = 33), participants were taught how to use this exercise via email and the participants were asked to engage in the exercise on a daily basis for a period of 3 weeks. As compared to two control groups, one being a no-treatment control group ( n = 35) and the other a modified MCII group ( n = 32), our experimental MCII group showed a reduced stress level and an enhanced work engagement. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the present study as well as ways to intensify MCII effects on stress reduction.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Recovery, work engagement, and proactive behavior: a new look at the interface between nonwork and work.

           S R Sonnentag (2003)
          This study examined work-related outcomes of recovery during leisure time. A total of 147 employees completed a questionnaire and a daily survey over a period of 5 consecutive work days. Multilevel analyses showed that day-level recovery was positively related to day-level work engagement and day-level proactive behavior (personal initiative, pursuit of learning) during the subsequent work day. The data suggest considerable daily fluctuations in behavior and attitudes at work, with evidence that these are related to prior experience and opportunity for recovery in the nonwork domain.
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            Goal Achievement: The Role of Intentions

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              Workplace stress in nursing: a literature review.

              Stress perception is highly subjective, and so the complexity of nursing practice may result in variation between nurses in their identification of sources of stress, especially when the workplace and roles of nurses are changing, as is currently occurring in the United Kingdom health service. This could have implications for measures being introduced to address problems of stress in nursing. To identify nurses' perceptions of workplace stress, consider the potential effectiveness of initiatives to reduce distress, and identify directions for future research. A literature search from January 1985 to April 2003 was conducted using the key words nursing, stress, distress, stress management, job satisfaction, staff turnover and coping to identify research on sources of stress in adult and child care nursing. Recent (post-1997) United Kingdom Department of Health documents and literature about the views of practitioners was also consulted. Workload, leadership/management style, professional conflict and emotional cost of caring have been the main sources of distress for nurses for many years, but there is disagreement as to the magnitude of their impact. Lack of reward and shiftworking may also now be displacing some of the other issues in order of ranking. Organizational interventions are targeted at most but not all of these sources, and their effectiveness is likely to be limited, at least in the short to medium term. Individuals must be supported better, but this is hindered by lack of understanding of how sources of stress vary between different practice areas, lack of predictive power of assessment tools, and a lack of understanding of how personal and workplace factors interact. Stress intervention measures should focus on stress prevention for individuals as well as tackling organizational issues. Achieving this will require further comparative studies, and new tools to evaluate the intensity of individual distress.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-1078
                15 June 2018
                2018
                : 9
                Affiliations
                1Department of Psychology, New York University , New York, NY, United States
                2Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz , Konstanz, Germany
                3Department of Psychology, University of Hamburg , Hamburg, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Jesus de la Fuente, University of Almería, Spain

                Reviewed by: Agnes Von Wyl, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland; Jesús Nicasio García Sánchez, Universidad de León, Spain

                *Correspondence: Peter M. Gollwitzer, peter.gollwitzer@ 123456nyu.edu Gabriele Oettingen, gabriele.oettingen@ 123456nyu.edu

                This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Article
                10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00838
                6013563
                Copyright © 2018 Gollwitzer, Mayer, Frick and Oettingen.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, Equations: 4, References: 46, Pages: 11, Words: 0
                Funding
                Funded by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 10.13039/501100001659
                Award ID: GO 387/ 14-3
                Categories
                Psychology
                Original Research

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