Mental Health and Work: Employee Engagement, Part 1 of 3

Nomadic Lass (cc)

Results from the U.S. National Co-morbidity Survey, a nationally representative study of Americans ages 15 to 54, reported that 18% of those who were employed said they experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the previous month.

During Mental Health Awareness Month (#MHM2014) it seems fitting to examine research on a problem affecting many employees that is often overlooked.  Mental health is a serious issue in the workplace,  but how do we deal with it as employees, coworkers, employers, HR personnel and anyone else touched by it? What needs to change to ensure healthier employees – and healthier workplaces?

This week, in a three-part series, we’ll explore recent research on mental health issues with their relevance and importance in the field of business and management. As the authors of our first featured article note,

“The nature of today’s labor market requires organizations to be productive and competitive to survive and grow, since they are constantly confronted with the pressure to be profitable as fast as possible. Thus, workers are expected to be psychologically connected to their work, proactive, and committed to high-quality performance standards, to collaborate with others, to be energetic and dedicated, and to be absorbed by their work. Simply put, ‘today’s organizations are in need of engaged employees.”

But are those struggling with mental health issues able to be engaged as this suggests? The research literature offers insight into individual, as well as corporate, issues related to mental health (including engagement and well-being), which is where we start today.

An article published in the Journal of Career Assessment by Patrizia Villotti, University of Trento, Italy; Cristian Balducci, University of Bologna, Italy; Sara Zaniboni, University of Trento, Italy; Marc Corbière, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada; and Franco Fraccaroli of University of Trento, Italy, “An Analysis of Work Engagement Among Workers With Mental Disorders Recently Integrated to Work,” looked at work outcomes, along with the  importance of social support from coworkers and supervisors, and occupational self-efficacy. “Among the general population and individuals suffering from other disabilities, people with mental disorders face severe difficulties in participating and integrating in the contemporary work world despite the evidence that they have the potential and desire to work. The purpose of this study is to determine the validity of the work engagement construct among mentally ill workers and to develop a nomological network delineating the relationship of work engagement with its antecedents, and its consequences in this specific population.” Click here to read the article.

An article published in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies by Brad Shuck, University of Louisville  and Thomas G. Reio, Jr., Florida International University, “Employee Engagement and Well-Being: A Moderation Model and Implications for Practice,” examined the degree to which psychological workplace climate was associated with personal accomplishment, depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and psychological well-being, and whether employee engagement moderated these relations. Click here to read the article.

An article published in Human Relations  by Else Ouweneel, Utrecht University;  Pascale M. LeBlanc, Eindhoven University of Technology; Wilmar B. Schaufeli and Corine I. van Wijhe, both at Utrecht University, “Good morning, good day: A diary study on positive emotions, hope, and work engagement,” studied potential positive within-person relationships, including positive emotions, work-related hope, and the three dimensions of work engagement on a daily level. Click here to read the article.

Tomorrow’s post: Mental Health and Work: Stress and Organizational Behavior, Part 2 of 3



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Business and Management INK puts the spotlight on research published in our more than 100 management and business journals. We feature an inside view of the research that’s being published in top-tier SAGE journals by the authors themselves.

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