One simple question asking employees to rate their current stress level may identify individuals who could benefit from wellness programs to reduce stress and improve resiliency and overall health, according to a Mayo Clinic study led by Matthew Clark, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, published in the September/October issue of The American Journal of Health Promotion.
In this study of over 13,000 employees, when compared to other employees, the high-stress employees reported having a lower quality of life, poorer health, less support, and more fatigue. High-stress employees were also more likely to have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol, and to be overweight. In addition, the high-stress group had less confidence than their non-stressed peers in their ability to make changes to improve their overall health.
Many businesses encourage employees to participate in wellness programs. These programs can lower health care costs and boost productivity. However, many employees either don’t enroll or drop out. “Wellness programs and centers typically initially focus on physical fitness and weight loss,” says Dr. Clark. “Perhaps by addressing other domains of wellness — stress management, work-life balance, spirituality and resilience — employees might gain the confidence and skills to truly achieve better overall wellness.” The study showed the biggest differences between stressed and non-stressed respondents were in fatigue levels after a regular night’s sleep and current quality of life.