Best Intervention Competition (Work, Stress and Health Conference)

The purpose of the Best Intervention Competition is to recognize outstanding evaluations of interventions in which researchers partner with industry and labor to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses and promote workplace safety and health.

Sponsor: Work, Stress and Health Office



In keeping with our conference theme of "sustainable work, sustainable health, sustainable organizations," we are especially interested in submissions describing research-to-practice translation efforts that promote sustainable interventions. These may include workplace programs, policies, practices, case experiences or other efforts to prevent stress in today's increasingly complex global economy.

The purpose of the Best Intervention Competition is to recognize outstanding evaluations of interventions in which researchers partner with industry and labor to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses and promote workplace safety and health.


The intervention evaluated should be from a program, study or other activity relevant to occupational health psychology and may range in complexity from a simple change in work organization at a single worksite to:
  • A comprehensive re-organization of the work processes.
  • A program of OSH training.
  • Or, policies or regulations applied throughout a corporation, industry, state or nation, such as an OSHA standard.

Award Presentation

Prior to the conference, three competition finalists will be identified; one of the three papers will be selected as the competition winner. All three finalists will be honored during an awards presentation at the conference, and each finalist will present his or her work in a topically-appropriate conference session.

Please note: The Best Intervention Competition reserves the right to withhold this award based on minimal standards of sound scientific method in the evaluation of an intervention.

All competition participants are encouraged to submit their papers to the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology® (JOHP). Submissions to JOHP are separate from this competition and will undergo the normal journal review.

Special Issue: Stress and Health

Stress and Health Special Issue: "Organizational health interventions: Advances in evaluation methodology" (PDF, 345KB) is a second publication available to competition participants in 2015. The letter of intent is due Dec. 1, 2014, and the paper must be submitted by July 1, 2015. (Best Intervention Competition authors will receive detailed feedback on their manuscripts in April 2015.) Submissions to Stress and Health are separate from the Best Intervention Competition and will undergo review by the special issue editors: Maria Karanika-Murray, Nottingham Trent University United Kingdom, Caroline Biron, Laval University Canada and Per Øystein Saksvik, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Contact Information


Wesley Baker
Conference Manager
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002-4242
Phone: (202) 336-6124
Fax: (202) 336-6117
Email Wesley Baker

Best Intervention Competition

Ted Scharf
Best Intervention Competition Coordinator
National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health
1090 Tusculum Ave.  C-24
Cincinnati, Ohio 45226
Phone: (513) 533-8170
Fax: (513) 533-8596
Email Ted Scharf


All abstract submissions accepted for presentation at the Work, Stress and Health 2015 conference and that describe interventions are eligible to enter the Best Intervention Competition.

Important note: Current members of the Work, Stress and Health 2015 conference planning team and reviewers for this competition may not be authors or consultants on papers submitted to the competition.

How to Apply

Evaluation Criteria

Each manuscript will be scored on how comprehensively it describes an intervention and reports the appropriate study results. The scoring criteria emphasize the quality of the methodology used to assess the intervention's effectiveness; the specific topic area of the intervention is not scored. Important note: While all of the following criteria will be considered in the review of papers for the competition, it is neither anticipated nor required that any single paper will address every criterion:

  1. Description of the need for the intervention: a) the health and safety problems addressed, and b) the injury and illness consequences for workers. Note: severity of the problem is not a scoring criterion, e.g., a routine intervention to prevent fatalities will not displace a good evaluation of a comprehensive health promotion program.

  2. Description of the intervention in the workplace: a) basic descriptive information regarding the intervention, the context in which it is implemented and any study objectives or hypotheses; b) the organizational level(s) of workplaces included in the intervention; c) the process of development of the intervention, such as participation of workers and management and of the research/evaluation team in developing the intervention; and d) innovative approaches and noteworthy methods of addressing a problem.

  3. Evaluation study design and methods (i.e., the plan for implementing the intervention and evaluating the implementation): a) the overall quality of the research design; b) ethical considerations, such as informed consent and other aspects of a typical institutional review board review; c) population, sample, recruiting participants, assignment to groups and estimates of power; d) measurements (both quantitative and qualitative), including both intervention efficacy and effectiveness measures; and e) a plan to permit process/efficacy evaluation results to modify the intervention.

  4. Evaluation study results and analysis: a) the quality and comprehensiveness of the results; and b) the quality of the results with respect to the overall findings and conclusions, especially the link between effectiveness measures and the overall findings. Note: Significant results are not a prerequisite for this competition. Negative results, null results and significant results may all be reported.

  5. Adoptability of the intervention: measurements, observations and comments that support the replication of this intervention in other workplaces or communities, including a) author/researcher perspective on adoptability; b) user/participant assessments of adoptability; and c) adoption rate data.

  6. Implications of the evaluation results for occupational health psychology: a) placing this study into the broader context of occupational health psychology, b) limitations of the intervention, c) recommendations for improvements to the intervention, d) recommendations for improved evaluation studies and e) new research questions.

For additional information on the development of the competition criteria and scoring details, please refer to:

Scharf, T., Chapman, L., Collins, J., Limanowski, J., Heaney, C., and Goldenhar, L. (2008).
Intervention effectiveness evaluation criteria: Promoting competitions and raising the bar.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. v.13, no.1, pp.1-19.; .

New for 2015 is a set of criteria evaluating the adoptability and rate of adoption of interventions in workplaces and communities. (See section V. in the current score sheet.) This set of criteria derives from:

Dearing, J.W., and Meyer, G. (1994).
An exploratory tool for predicting adoption decisions.
Science Communication, v. 16, no. 1, pp.43-57.

Purpose for the Criteria

As noted in Scharf, et al., (2008), the purpose for the criteria is to challenge and test them against emerging standards of the very best intervention evaluation practices. The review sheet has been adjusted from its 2008 version based on reviews from the competitions at the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS), 2008 and 2011, and the Work Stress and Health 2009, 2011 and 2013 competitions. Please use the current conceptual (PDF, 45KB) and analytic (PDF, 187KB) score sheets.

Please note: the Best Intervention Competition reviewers reserve the right to continue to adjust the relative weights on the attached score sheet until the reviews actually commence. Please consider using the attached as a content checklist while preparing your competition manuscript. Please do not use the attached score sheet as a template to write your manuscript.

Please submit your manuscript in English. The Best Intervention Competition does not have the resources necessary to conduct a professional multi-lingual review with good inter-rater reliability.

Competition Procedures and Timeline

Electronic submissions are preferred, but not required. Print submissions will also be accepted.

Oct. 6, 2014

Submit your 600- to 800-word abstract along with the proposal cover sheet and other required materials to the conference coordinator at APA. Check the box for the Best Intervention Competition on your cover sheet. Include one extra copy of the abstract for the competition if submitting in print form. Your abstract will remain confidential; it will be used to assign reviewers for the competition. Complete and submit the Best Intervention Competition Submission Statement (PDF, 168KB).

Oct. 6, 2014-Jan. 5, 2015

Complete and submit to the conference manager, Wesley Baker, a full manuscript detailing the intervention and its evaluation. Submit a draft of the manuscript describing the intervention evaluation. (Refer to the evaluation criteria for guidance.) Please copy the Best Intervention Competition coordinator, Ted Scharf, on electronic submissions of your manuscript.

Every effort will be made to provide quick feedback on abstracts submitted to this competition. However, please do not wait to hear from APA to prepare your manuscript for this competition. Notifications regarding acceptance of abstracts will not be made until late December 2014, or early January 2015.

Note: There is no required minimum or maximum length for manuscripts for this competition. Extremely short submissions (e.g., 5-10 pages) are likely to lose points simply because they do not have the capacity to address all the relevant criteria. This competition encourages students to submit theses and dissertations describing evaluations of interventions. Authors planning to submit manuscripts substantially longer than a typical journal article or book chapter are asked to contact the intervention competition coordinator in advance so that reviewer assignments may be adjusted.

Jan. 5, 2015

Deadline to submit a draft of the manuscript describing the intervention evaluation. Electronic submissions are preferred. Printed copies will also be accepted if they are postmarked no later than Jan. 5, 2015, and are sent via air or express mail. If submitting in printed form, please include four copies of the manuscript. Send your manuscript to the conference manager at APA.

Jan. 7-March 31, 2015

Your manuscript is peer reviewed for the Best Intervention Competition. (See the competition evaluation criteria). Manuscripts will be held in confidence.

April 2015

The competition committee provides detailed manuscript feedback to all competition participants, and finalists are notified. Finalists will be acknowledged in a special awards session during a reception at the Work, Stress and Health 2015 conference. All competition participants will be placed in sessions appropriate to their topic areas.

All participants are encouraged to submit their manuscripts to the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology® (JOHP). Submissions to JOHP are separate from this competition and will undergo the normal journal review.

Past Recipients


1st Place

Dov Zohar, PhD  &  Tal Polatchek
Discourse-based Intervention for Reducing Policy-Practice Decoupling to Improve Safety Climate and Performance: A Randomized Field Study

Honorable Mention

Songqi Liu,  Jason L. Huang,  &  Mo Wang 
Effectiveness of Job Search Interventions: A Meta-Analytic Review


1st place

Caroline Biron, Hans Ivers, Jean-Pierre Brun and Cary L. Cooper
The More the Merrier? An Observational Study of Dose-Response Relations in Organizational-Level Stress Interventions


1st place

Ryan Olson, W. Kent Anger, Diane L. Elliot, Bradley Wipfli, Sara Schmidt, and Mary Gray
A new health promotion model for truck drivers: Results of the SHIFT pilot study

Honorable mention

Karina Nielsen and Raymond Randall
Does Participation Mediate the Effects of Team Implementation on Employee Well-Being and Job Satisfaction? A Longitudinal Field Study


1st place tie

Jukka Vuori and Salla Toppinen-Tanner
Towards Successful Seniority - A group method for promoting career management and preventing burnout in work organizations

1st place tie

Sharon Clarke and Christine Flitcroft
Developing successful health and safety communication interventions in SMEs

Honorable mention

HeeKyoung Chun
Action Research in a Nail Salon


1st place

Cheryl Haslam, Zara Whysall, and Roger A. Haslam
A staged approach to reducing musculoskeletal disorders

2nd place tie

Shoshi Chen, Mina Westman, and Dov Eden
Impact of enhanced resources on anticipatory stress and adjustment to new information technology: A field-experimental test of conservation of resources theory

2nd place tie

Anna-Liisa Elo, Pauliina Mattila, Jenni Nyman, and Eeva Kuosma
Evaluation of an organizational stress management program in municipal public works.