Effects of the job stress education for supervisors on psychological distress and job performance among their immediate subordinates: A supervisor-based randomized controlled trial

Soshi Takao, Akizumi Tsutsumi, Kyoko Nishiuchi, Sachiko Mineyama, Norito Kawakami

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26 Citations (Scopus)


As job stress is now one of the biggest health-related problems in the workplace, several education programs for supervisors have been conducted to reduce job stress. We conducted a supervisor-based randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effects of an education program on their subordinates' psychological distress and job performance. The subjects were 301 employees (46 supervisors and 255 subordinates) in a Japanese sake brewery. First, we randomly allocated supervisors to the education group (24 supervisors) and the waiting-list group (22 supervisors). Then, for the allocated supervisors we introduced a single-session, 60-min education program according to the guidelines for employee mental health promotion along with training that provided consulting skills combined with role-playing exercises. We conducted pre- and post-intervention (after 3 months) surveys for all subordinates to examine psychological distress and job performance. We defined the intervention group as those subordinates whose immediate supervisors received the education, and the control group was defined as those subordinates whose supervisors did not. To evaluate the effects, we employed a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Overall, the intervention effects (time x group) were not significant for psychological distress or job performance among both male (p=0.456 and 0.252) and female (p=0.714 and 0.106) subordinates. However, young male subordinates engaged in white-collar occupations showed significant intervention effects for psychological distress (p=0.012) and job performance (p=0.029). In conclusion, our study indicated a possible beneficial effect of supervisor education on the psychological distress and job performance of subordinates. This effect may vary according to specific groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-503
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006



  • Controlled trial
  • Intervention
  • Job performance
  • Job stress
  • Psychological distress
  • Supervisor education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Toxicology

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