Development of an Intervention to Create a Supportive Work Environment for Employees with Chronic Conditions: An Intervention Mapping Approach

A.R. Bosma*, C.R.L. Boot, F.G. Schaafsma, G. Kok, J.R. Anema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose This study describes the development of an evidence-based intervention to create a supportive work environment for employees with chronic conditions. Occupational physicians (OPs) play an important role in guiding organizations in this process of organizational change. Supportive work environments can aid in preventing work-related problems and facilitate sustainable employment. Current workplace interventions for employees with chronic conditions are mainly focused on return to work or a reduction in sick leave at the individual worker's level. This study contributes to the literature an organizational-level intervention which utilizes a preventive approach. Methods Intervention mapping (IM) is a six-step, structured protocol that was used to develop this intervention. In step 1, a needs assessment was conducted to define the problem and explore the perspectives of all stakeholders involved. The program outcomes and the performance objectives of employees with chronic conditions and occupational physicians were specified in step 2. In step 3, appropriate methods and practical applications were chosen. Step 4 describes the actual development of the intervention, consisting of (1) a training for occupational physicians to teach them how to guide organizations in creating a supportive work environment; (2) a practical assignment; and (3) a follow-up meeting. The intervention will be implemented in a pilot study in which occupational physicians will put their acquired knowledge and skills into practice within one of their organizations, which is delineated in step 5. Conclusions IM proved to be a valuable and practical tool for the development of this intervention, aiming to facilitate sustainable employment for employees with chronic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-634
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Early online date21 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Work
  • Chronic disease
  • Occupational health services
  • Organizations

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