Argosy Online University
This research was carried out as partial fulfillment towards the Research Methods course at Argosy University by Lisa Gomez.
The study evaluates the research question: Does health promotion strategies help alleviate stress? The study uses a sample size of twenty five respondents; the five respondents were added to compensate for attrition. The study used the stratified random sampling technique. This technique is appropriate for the study because of the different levels of stressing factors the workers are exposed to due to the nature of their job. The inclusion criterion for the study is that the individuals chosen for the study have to be part of the study area chosen. They also have to be over eighteen years of age and of sound mind. The exclusion criteria stated that individuals who are diagnosed with psychological disorders like manic and bipolar disorders cannot be included into the study. This is because such disorders might affect the results of the study in ways that cannot be controlled. Stress was measured using standard psychological questionnaires that assess different psychological factors that are related to stress in human beings. They include the Holistic Psychological Evaluation Questionnaire and the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire. Analysis of salivary cortisol was also carried out to measure stress levels. Well-being was measures using a questionnaire assessing eight dimensions of well-being and scales to rank the values for quantification. The measuring qualities of the tools will be assessed for validity and reliability using a Crobach’s alpha of >0.7. The study will adopt the cross-sectional analytical study design. This study design will enable the researcher to measure the variables of study in their environment. In the analysis of the data collected during the study, Pearson Product-Moment Correlation coefficient would have been used. This is because the statistical test is widely used to measure the linear dependence between different variables. The expected results will show that health promoting strategies help reduce stress.
While stress cannot be entirely removed from the workplace or life, one can develop coping skills with relative ease. Stress has shown to contribute to physical conditions like high blood pressure, ulcers and stroke. As such, stress reduction directly impacts the improvement of one’s physical health. Health promotion strategies employ different approaches in improving the physical and mental health of an individual. Approaches that use multiple strategies have proven more effective when compared to stand-alone approaches. Health promotion strategies offer health information so as to create awareness and capacity among individuals to make decisions concerning health behavior and care.
Health promotion strategies that take into account the inherent differences between men and women in terms of social and biological vulnerability to various health risks and unequal access to power are more probable to be cost-effective and successful when compared to those that do not take into account such differences. This calls for gender consideration when educating people on feasible health promotion strategies. There is a myriad of evidence based research data that alludes to the differences between men and women as the factors that determine the success and cost effectiveness of health promotion strategies. As such, ignoring the gender aspect is not only detrimental to programmes popularizing health promoting strategies, but also limiting in terms of probability for success and cost effectiveness.
Health promotion strategies provide supportive environment within working settings such as businesses, schools, hospitals, worksites and recreational facilities (Egger, Spark & Donovan, 2005). This empowers people to make better health choices. However, there has been limited research on the effect of health promotion strategies on stress reduction. More precisely, scholars have not encompassed different perspectives in the studies on the subject of stress reduction using health promotion strategies (Ludovici-Connolly, 2010). As such, there exists gas in knowledge as to whether health promotion strategies can help alleviate stress. It is on this premise that this is paper is informed.
In order to sufficiently determine whether health promoting strategies help alleviate stress, it is important to first analyze available literature. More importantly, this will help substantiate how and not just if, health promoting strategies help alleviate stress. It is also important to determine the factors that affect the health promotion strategies when employed to alleviate stress among other things. This knowledge is important because it provides one with the knowhow required to alter different strategies for a desired effect. While all this will be covered through the review of available literature, it is noteworthy that different health promoting strategies have different effects to different people because of environmental and human factors. As such, the paper will also establish the factors that affect the success of health promoting strategies in alleviating stress.
In order to sufficiently deliver on the mandate of the paper, I will evaluate the following research question: Does health promotion strategies help alleviate stress? Enormous human and economic costs are linked to occupational stress. These enormous costs justify initiatives that are designed to alleviate or prevent occupational stress at the work place. It is also important to measure the effect of such strategies on alleviating occupational stress because of the enormous investments involved.
Objectives of the study
Objectives define the precise details that the study hopes to accomplish. As such, this study will meet the following objectives: -
Significance of the study
As espoused earlier, stress has shown to cause conditions like hypertension, ulcers and stroke. Stress also impairs the productivity and performance of employees at the workplace. Even for this sole reason, it is important to know how we can best reduce stress and create an environment that is less stressful. Of more importance is the effect stress has on the health of an individual. Given that we cannot completely deal away with stressing factors in life, the nest best thing is to learn how to cope with these factors. It is for this reason that this study is very important. The information gotten from this study will help employers create and sustain better environments at the workplace to help the employees reduce stress thereby performing better. The information will also help policy makers draft policies that are sensitive to the differentials between various genders.
The study will seek to test the following alternative hypothesis:
Health promotion strategies help alleviate stress and the null hypothesis would suggest: -
Health promotion strategies do not help reduce stress.
Sample size, characteristics and criteria
Using the stratified random sampling, the head researcher will randomly choose an equal number of people from each stratum to make up the twenty respondents required. Five more respondents will be added to the sample size to compensate for attrition. This is a scientific method of arriving to a sample size. It has been found that such a sample size, if chosen randomly would be representative of the general population. As such, the results gotten from the study can be generalized to other populations in similar settings. The inclusion criterion for the study is that the individuals chosen for the study have to be part of the study area chosen.
They also have to be over eighteen years of age and of sound mind. Individuals who are diagnosed with psychological disorders like manic and bipolar disorders cannot be included into the study. This is because such disorders might affect the results of the study in ways that cannot be controlled. Individuals with personality disorders cannot also be included in the study (Davis, Eshelman, & McKay, 2010). The sample needs to be diverse. Diversity in the sample size is very important. Diversity in terms of gender and age presents different perspectives in the responses given.
The sampling technique to be used in the study is the stratified random sampling technique. This technique is appropriate for the study because of the different levels of stressing factors the workers are exposed to due to the nature of their job. The first step will involve the splitting of the study population into various strata based on a consensus agreed upon by the research team and the administration. The input of the administration is required in order to determine the groups of workers who are under the most stressful working conditions. This will be based upon the number of hours a worker has to put in a day, the manual requirement of the job, availability of protective clothing, thermal comfort and the posture assumed when working.
The lead researcher will determine whether the sampled population is affected by the exclusion and inclusion criteria. To this end, a questionnaire seeking to know whether either of the sampled individuals is affected by the provisions in the exclusion and inclusion criteria will be administered. Any individuals ruled out by the exclusion criteria will be removed from the sampled list and replaced using the random sampling technique. The population of the sample generalizes to all individuals who are not diagnosed with any psychological or personality disorders.
Variables of study
The following are the variables of study: -
- Well being
- Health promotion strategies
Operational definition of the variables
The variables of study assume the following meanings for the purposes of this study: -
- Stress: - for the purposes of this study, stress means anything that challenges or poses a threat to one’s well being. Although stress is not entirely bad, stressing factors that undermine one’s mental and physical health is bad this study will be focusing on stressing factors that undermine and individual’s mental and physical well being. This variable will be quantified using values from the tools used to test for stress. For instance, the values from the autonomic measures and the assessment of salivary cortisol will quantify levels of stress.
- Well-being: - from psychological perspectives and for the purposes of this study, well-being is the prevalence of positive attributes in one’s life. The well-being of a respondent will be quantified by assessing the dimensions of wellbeing in a questionnaire developed by the research team. The dimensions to be assessed include spiritual, social, financial, environmental, physical, intellectual and emotional well-being.
- Health promotion strategies: - for the purposes of this study, health promotion strategies are activities aimed towards giving people more control of their health in order to reach to state of mental, physical and social well being. For the purposes of this study, the following health promoting strategies will be employed: -
- Health education: increasing the knowledge of the respondents through information on the importance of caring for their health and different ways of achieving this.
- Screening: this is the testing of individuals in order to look for diseases even in the absence of signs or symptoms.
- Providing supportive environments: this is providing surroundings that encourage the respondent to adhere to the chosen cause of action.
Measurement of the variables
In order to measure stress, the study will employ standard psychological questionnaires that assess different psychological factors that are related to stress in human beings. They include the Holistic Psychological Evaluation Questionnaire and the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire. In addition to this, the study will also employ autonomic measure to assess the stress levels in the sampled population. Firstly, the researcher will take the blood pressure of the respondents. Unusually high levels of blood pressure can be indicators of stresses. Secondly, the researcher will assess the salivary cortisol as an important biomarker of stress (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2009).
The researcher will measure the well being of the study sample by using a questionnaire to assess the eight aforementioned dimensions of well-being. The questionnaire will assess for indicators like resilience, absence of infirmity, activity level, nutritional status, happiness, diagnosed disorders and satisfaction (Stahl, Goldstein, Kabat-Zinn, & Santorelli, 2010). Using different scales, the questionnaire will rank the individuals subjective well-being. In order to measure health promotion strategies, the researcher will list various health promoting activities and require the respondent to list those he has been exposed to in the last six months.
Reliability and validity
The reliability and validity of the measures are dependent on many factors. Nonetheless, the study will assess the measurement techniques for reliability and validity before the study. The study will rely on inter-observer reports, tests and retests, parallel forms and split half reliability. All these measures are meant to assess the reliability of the techniques used to measure the variables of study. In order to assess the validity, the researcher will assess the tools for criterion validity, construct validity and content validity. All this will inform any necessary changes that ought to be made before the study. The measuring qualities of the tools will be assessed for validity and reliability using a Crobach’s alpha of >0.7.
Data collection techniques
The study will employ interviews as a data collection technique. Interviews are necessary because of their interactive nature and their ability to offer subjective information through the questions asked by the interviewer. This will entail the researcher visiting the location where the respondents reside and get information out of them through interviews that are guided by standard questionnaires. The researcher will also employ observation checklists where appropriate as guided by the methodology (Kothari, 2005).
The study will adopt the cross-sectional analytical study design. This study design will enable the researcher to measure the variables of study in their environment. The design will also allow the researcher to describe the variables of study at one specific point in time. The study design was also adopted due to financial and time constraints (McBurney & White, 2010).
The researcher will introduce themselves and the study to the respondents. In addition, the researcher will also seek the consent of the respondents to participate in the study after assuring the respondent of confidentiality. The researcher will then require the respondent to sign a consent form. In case of any intrusive procedures, the researcher will inform the respondent prior to and seek their consent in the administration of the procedures. For instance, the researcher will acquire the saliva of the respondents for the assessment of salivary cortisol. In such an instance, the researcher is to explain to the respondent why the saliva sample is required. The researcher will administer the contents of the tools used for data collection.
The respondents will be divided into groups; the control and the experimental group. The experimental group will be taken through the health promoting strategies and their well-being measured in order to study the effect of the health promoting studies on stress reduction. The values acquired from the experimental group will be compared with those from the control group in order to arrive at coefficients of the relationship and statistical significance of such relationship. The total number of respondents will be divided equally and randomly into the two groups. The experimental group will be taken through the three health promoting strategies. Checklists with various indicators will be used to monitor every respondent in the two groups. The control group will not be taken through the health promoting strategies. Nonetheless, their well-being will be measured using the same tools and procedure. The two groups will be exposed to the elements of the study for equal periods of time as defined by the methodology.
Issues of confidentiality are important in any study. Such issues in this study will be addressed by assuring the respondent of confidentiality. In addition, the data collected will only be used for the purposes of the study and that the data will not be disseminated to third persons. Intrusive procedures will be administered by trained personnel without compromising on the standard operating procedures (Kimmel, 2007). In order to keep the stress levels within a workable range, the respondents will be expected to undergo their normal routines. During such routines, minimal interruptions by the research team will be expected. If for some unforeseen reasons the levels of stress among the respondents escalate, the affected respondents will receive counseling from the medical personnel who is part of the research team. Where such individuals decide to pull out from the study, they will be required to sign a form to that effect. The additional respondents in the sample size to compensate for attrition will fill in the gap during data analysis.
In the analysis of the data collected during the study, Pearson Product-Moment Correlation coefficient would have been used. This is because the statistical test is widely used to measure the linear dependence between different variables. As such, the test establishes the relationship between different variables. This is important in establishing the relationship between health promotion strategies and stress reduction.
The expected results from the study would show that health promotion strategies help reduce stress. The analysis if the data would show a significant relationship between health promotion strategies and stress reduction. This is attributable to the increased awareness and support from the immediate environment. This enables on to better deal with the stressing factors in his life.
The results would have been affected by various factors. For instance, the study period might not have been enough to properly monitor the respondents. The design used in the study was one of the factors that might have affected the results. As a cross-sectional descriptive design, the participants were not observed in their natural environments for a long period of time. Confounding factors in the study were not adequately controlled for. This might have affected the results posted. The confounding variables in the study included undiagnosed personality disorders and undiagnosed depression. These factors could affect the results significantly.
Through the results of the study, the general population will be better poised to understand the relationship between health promotion strategies and stress reduction. The information generated will also be useful for policy makers and the health provision fraternity
Davis, M., Eshelman, E. R., & McKay, M. (2010). The relaxation & stress reduction workbook. S.l.: RHYW
Egger, G., Spark, R., & Donovan, R. J. (2005). Health promotion strategies and methods. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kaplan, R. M., & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2009). Psychological testing: Principles, applications, and issues. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Kimmel, A. J. (2007). Ethical issues in behavioral research: Basic and applied perspectives. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Pub.
Kothari, C. R. (2005). Research methodology: Methods & techniques. New Delhi: New Age International (P) Ltd.
Ludovici-Connolly, A. M. (2010). Winning health promotion strategies. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
McBurney, D., & White, T. L. (2010). Research methods. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Stahl, B., Goldstein, E., Kabat-Zinn, J., & Santorelli, S. (2010). A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.