ABSTRACT

In the latter half of the 1990s, Finland is rapidly recovering from the deepest economic recession in its history. The recession, which started in 1992, was preceded by a period of high productivity and economic growth during most of the 1980s. From the viewpoint of research and development on psychosocial factors and stress prevention, the 1980s was a period of many opportunities. The knowledge basis and attitudinal readiness had already started to grow during the late 1970s through research, information and training. In order to cope with the downturn in the economy in the early 1990s, business reacted mostly with restrictive policies, including company mergers and the reduction in personnel. As a result, unemployment at its peak rocketed to over 19 per cent, and has come down only slowly during 1997. This situation increased the need and demand for psychosocial knowledge and services, so that reorganisations could be made as smoothly as possible. Another need was to monitor, and intervene against, the anticipated negative consequences, such as increased stress and burn-out.