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BASELINE OCCUPATIONAL STRESS LEVELS AND PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES 
TO A TWO DAY STRESS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM


R.P. Vempati and Shirley Telles

Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India



The benefits of work site stress management programs for a symptomatic employee populations remain to be established. The present study evaluated the physiological changes of a yoga based stress management program for 26 a symptomatic, male, middle managers. The Occupational Stress index (OSI) and autonomic parameters were measured. Data of subjects with OSI greater or less than the median ware analyzed separately. The 't' test for paired data was used for pre-post comparisons. The whole group (n=26) showed a significant decrease in breath rate (p<.005) after the two day program, with no other changes. Subjects with OSI more than median (n = 13) showed a significant decrease in breath rate (p<.01), in the power of the low frequency component of the heart rate variability spectrum (p<.05), and in the low frequency: high frequency ratio (LF/ HF) (p<.05) and an increase in the high frequency component (p<.05) after the program, with no changes in the subjects with OSI less than the median.

Work related psychosocial stressors are known to affect the body functions through psychological processes, and influence health through four types of closely interrelated mechanisms-emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological (Levi, 1990). The health outcome depends on situational (e.g., social support) and individual factors (e.g., personality, coping repertoire).

The increase in occupational stress has led to many work site stress management programs (Fiedler, Vivona - Vaughan, & Gochfeld, 1989), which have attempted to reduce workers stress. The efficacy of these procedures for a symptomatic employees has been questioned in the absence of recording of objective physiological changes.

The present study was conducted to evaluate psycho-physiological responses to a two day, yoga based stress management program, and to study psycho-physiological changes based on levels of occupational stress at baseline.

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