mHealth Intervention for Work-Related Stress (DIARY)

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Karolinska Institute




Work Related Stress


Behavioral: Daily Intervention for Active Recovery

Study type


Funder types



SFO-V 2021-2022 ASB

Details and patient eligibility


The objective of the trial is to pilot test the study protocol of a preventive, low-intensive mobile health (mHealth) intervention for work-related stress among nursing students. Work stress is a wide-spread problem affecting individual health as well as incurring substantial societal costs. mHealth solutions are among the most promising options for providing effective, scalable, and standardized interventions to employees.

Full description

Researchers generally agree that recovery is a key buffer against the negative consequences of stress. Recovery behaviors, such as mindfulness and physical activity, are well-known to have a positive effect on stress-related health problems. For this reason, a behavior change intervention that successfully improves recovery may be effective in combating the long-term effects of stress. In this pilot study, three groups of participants received different versions of an intervention, each version containing a distinct set of recovery strategies. The motivation of the present study is to pilot test the intervention and a study protocol in preparation for a future randomized controlled trial (RCT). Pilot testing the intervention and study procedures at an early stage is critical to identify potential pitfalls that need to be addressed before conducting a full-scale trial. Through investigating the study and intervention in preparatory phases we can refine the study protocol and intervention design in order to maximize the chances of a successful RCT. The research questions for this pilot study are: Data collection procedure - What is the recruitment and retention rate of invited participants? Does the randomization algorithm function properly? Engagement - How often do participants use the intervention? Do they find the application easy and engaging to use? Acceptability - Do participants find the intervention overall satisfactory and perceive it as beneficial? Is the digital tool technically stable? Measurement quality - What is the completion rate for questionnaire items? What is the within-person variability in the daily measures?


16 patients




18 to 65 years old


Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Active employee or student.

Exclusion criteria

  • No psychiatric disorder.

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Single Blind

16 participants in 3 patient groups

Social Support
Experimental group
This version of the intervention prompted users to engage in social support which is thought to buffer against the negative effects of stress. This effect is present in occupational settings, with several studies indicating that social support plays an important role in preventing burnout among nurses. Furthermore, interventions targeting social support in the workplace suggest that these have positive effects on mental health. Sample strategies included asking for help from co-workers, listening with compassion, and sharing authentic emotions.
Behavioral: Daily Intervention for Active Recovery
Physical Activity
Active Comparator group
This version of the interventions promoted an increase of physical activity in daily life. Physical activity is well-known to improve various health outcomes similar to our outcomes of interest, for instance reducing stress and burnout symptoms. Additionally, physical activity interventions in the workplace are widely used and have been found effective in many studies. Sample strategies included taking walks, going to the gym, and using the stairs instead of the elevator.
Behavioral: Daily Intervention for Active Recovery
Psychological Strategies
Active Comparator group
This version of the intervention promoted a variety of psychological strategies for stress reduction. Sample strategies included sleep quality improvement tips, mindfulness, and work detachment - evidence-based strategies that have a positive effect on outcomes of interest. Workplace interventions targeting these kinds of strategies have been found to be effective.
Behavioral: Daily Intervention for Active Recovery

Trial contacts and locations



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