Action research on occupational stress: Involving workers as researchers

B. A. Israel, S. J. Schurman, J. S. House

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


In this article we describe the rationale, design, and selected results of a longitudinal action research project conducted in a component-parts manufacturing plant. This project is aimed at reducing occupational stress and strengthening psychosocial factors (i.e., social support and participation in and influence over decision-making) that may mediate the negative effects of stress on health and quality of worklife. A discussion of the gaps and weaknesses in the existing research and intervention literature on work stress and health is provided, followed by an overview of the theoretical and empirical foundations of the present study. The design of this research addresses previous limitations in three major ways: (1) the project has been implemented within an action research framework that has the potential to enhance both the quality, relevance, and utilization of research findings and the adoption, diffusion, and impact of planned interventions; (2) it combines research and intervention in a single longitudinal study providing data that allow for stronger causal interferences than cross-sectional research, while also ensuring that research findings guide the design and evaluation of the interventions; and (3) it employes multiple methods of research and intervention that enhances the comprehensiveness and validity of the project. We explicate each of these aspects of the design, show how the design has effectively been put in operation, provide evidence of ways in which these features have improved the project over conventional approaches, and address limitations in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-155
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy


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