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266384 Can aerobic laughter therapy psychosocial support programs Improve the quality of life and productivity of social workers? Results from 134 community health workers and 125 hospital health care workers in South Africa show promise
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 1:30 PM - 1:50 PM
Background: Social workers experience high levels of stress. Many experience depression and burnout that can reduce quality of life and productivity. Psychosocial support programs using aerobic laughter therapy (ALT) provide cognitive behavioral therapy within the framework of positive psychology. The efficacy of this program was investigated in three groups that experience similar stressful work conditions. Methods: 37 workers in Northwest province providing care to HIV affected adults and children (group 1), 97 workers in Eastern Cape Province providing care to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children (group 2), and 125 highly stressed hospital workers (group 3) received ALT training and engaged in daily peer-to-peer ALT therapy group sessions of 10-15 minutes for six, three, and nine months respectively. Qualitative, quantitative and performance assessments were conducted with participants before training, then after 2 weeks, 2, 4, 6 months (group 1), and after 2 weeks and 2 months (group 2), and after 2 weeks, 2, 4, 6, and 9 months (group 1). Results: Results for group 1 showed dramatic increases in problem solving ability, emotional intelligence, and productivity (56%). Reductions were seen in absenteeism (52%), presenteeism, burnout, stress, depression, and workplace conflict. Participants reported significant improvements in patient relations and outcomes including adherence to medications and treatment. Results for group 2 confirmed these findings. Data for group 3 is being collected. Conclusions: Aerobic laughter based PSS programs can result in significant improvements in the quality of life and productivity of highly stressed healthcare workers. Similar results are expected in social worker groups.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Keywords: Wellness, Mental Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior technical advisor for health systems strengthening including improving health workforce retention and effectiveness. Among my scientific interests has been the design, testing and evaluating of programs to improve the well-being of health care workers.
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.
Back to: 5212.0: Best practice strategies for prevention and wellness