Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. today announced that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has included a profile of Pro-Change’s Stress Management Program as part of their Health Care Innovations Exchange.

The Stress Management Program is currently being utilized by HealthString LLC, Quality Health Solutions, Healthways, and Medifit. HealthString’s use of the program is highlighted in the Innovations Exchange profile.

Supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, the Stress Management Program assists individuals in managing their stress more effectively using practices such as relaxation, exercise, meditation, and social support.

Dr. Kerry Evers of Pro-Change designed the Stress Management Program based on the Transtheoretical Model and studied its effectiveness in a randomized controlled trial with adults from across the United States. At the 18-month follow-up, a significantly larger proportion of the treatment group (62%) was effectively managing their stress when compared to the control group. The intervention also produced significant reductions in stress and depression, and an increase in the use of stress management techniques when compared to the control group.

AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange is a Web-based resource designed to support health care professionals in sharing and adopting innovations that improve health care quality. The Innovations Exchange allows a variety of health practitioners to explore innovative strategies and quality-related tools, learn how to improve their organization’s ability to innovate and adopt new ideas, and interact with innovators and adopters.

The Stress Management Program’s profile is titled ‘Individualized Stress Management Program Encourages Healthy Behaviors and Coping Techniques’. The profile describes in detail how HealthString, LLC uses the Stress Management Program, part of Pro-Change’s LifeStyle Management Programs. HealthString is a personal health network which works to empower individuals to proactively manage their health by enabling behavior changes that lead to a healthier lifestyle. Use of the Stress Management Program allows HealthString clients to work towards that goal.

In response to receiving the AHRQ recognition, Liz Pampel Willock, President, Chief Compliance & Privacy Officer of HealthString stated, “Pro-Change Behavior Systems understands how people make effective and lasting change to improve their health, and HealthString uses several of Pro-Change’s Lifestyle Management Programs with success for our members. The Stress Management Program is a perfect fit for HealthString’s consumer-centered approach: strategic behavior change support and coaching that is dynamically tailored to an individual’s needs.”

To read the full outcome articles see:

Evers, K.E., Prochaska, J.O., Mauriello, L.M., Padula, J.A. and Prochaska, J.M. (2006). A randomized clinical trial of a population and transtheoretical-based stress management intervention. Health Psychology 25 (4), 521-529. abstract

Abstract: Stress has been associated with a variety of chronic and acute conditions and with higher use of health care services. This research reports on 18-month outcomes of a randomized clinical trial of a stress management program based on the transtheoretical model (TTM, J.0. Prochaska & C.C. DiClemente, 1986). A national sample of 1,085 individuals participated (age range = 18-91 years, M = 55.33; 68.9% Female, 31.1% male; 84.8% Caucasian; 15.2% non-Caucasian). Both the treatment and control groups received assessments at 0, 6, 12, and 18 months. In addition to the assessments, the treatment group received 3 individualized reports (0,3,6 months) and a manual. The 18-month assessment was completed by 778 individuals (72%). A random effects model indicated that participants completing the study in the treatment group had significantly more individuals reporting effective stress management at follow-up time points than did completers in the control group. Results also indicate that the intervention had significant effects on stress, depression, and specific stress-management behaviors. Results provide evidence for the effectiveness of this TTM population-based stress-management intervention.

Prochaska, J. O., Butterworth, S., Redding, C. A., Burden, V., Perrin, N., Leo, M. et al. (2008). Initial efficacy of MI, TTM tailoring and HRI’s with multiple behaviors for employee health promotion. Preventive Medicine, 46, 226-231. abstract

Objective: This study was designed to compare the initial efficacy of Motivational Interviewing (MI), Online Transtheoretical Model (TTM)-tailored communications and a brief Health Risk Intervention (HRI) on four health risk factors (inactivity, BMI, stress and smoking) in a worksite sample.
Method: A randomized clinical trial assigned employees to one of three recruitment strategies and one of the three treatments. The treatment protocol included an HRI session for everyone and in addition either a recommended three TTM online sessions or three MI in person or telephone sessions over 6 months. At the initial post-treatment assessment at 6 months, groups were compared on the percentage who had progressed from at risk to taking effective action on each of the four risks.
Results: Compared to the HRI only group, the MI and TTM groups had significantly more participants in the Action stage for exercise and effective stress management and significantly fewer risk behaviors at 6 months. MI and TTM group outcomes were not different.
Conclusion: This was the first study to demonstrate that MI and online TTM could produce significant multiple behavior changes. Future research will examine the long-term impacts of each treatment, their cost effectiveness, effects on productivity and quality of life and process variables mediating outcomes.