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Special Issue "Work Organization, Occupational Stress, and Mental Health and Wellbeing: Advances in the Evidence and Approaches to Intervention"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2023 | Viewed by 9870

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Adam Hege
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Public Health program, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Beaver College of Health Sciences, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28607, USA
Interests: occupational safety and health; health disparities; social determinants of health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Brian Whitaker
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management, Walker College of Business, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA
Interests: occupational safety and health; ethics in the workplace; feedback in organizations; employee selection; organizational culture
Dr. Michael Kenneth Lemke
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Health and Behavioral Science program, Department of Social Sciences, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston, TX 77002, USA
Interests: occupational safety and health; health disparities; chronic disease and acute injury prevention; complex systems science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes mental health and wellbeing as a critical global health issue. Mental illnesses, fueled by forces across the ecological model of health, are associated with multiple comorbidities, disability, and early death. At the population level, mental illness has significant repercussions on all aspects of society.

Over the past several decades, a growing body of research has highlighted the impacts that work – and the processes and environments associated with it – have on mental health and wellbeing. During this time, theoretical perspectives from numerous academic and professional disciplines have been developed and tested to address individual resilience, social support, and health promotion opportunities, to name a few. Additionally, organizational practices and public policies have been adopted that are aimed at reducing mental illnesses stemming from the workplace.

Manuscripts addressing the influences and impacts of work (e.g., scheduling, culture, social support) on mental health outcomes, and how these insights shape prevention and intervention programming (organization practices, public policy, etc.) are encouraged to submit for this special issue. Other manuscript types, such as methodological papers, commentaries, conceptual papers, systematic literature reviews, and meta-analyses, are also welcome, as are manuscripts linking work, COVID-19 and mental health.

We hope to receive papers from multiple disciplines, including public and occupational health, psychology, and sociology, among others. 

Dr. Adam Hege
Dr. Brian Whitaker
Dr. Michael Kenneth Lemke
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Work organization
  • work-life balance
  • work-family conflict
  • organizational psychology
  • occupational stress
  • mental health
  • interventions
  • policy
  • advocacy
  • COVID-19

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
An Interwoven Psychological Syndrome of Job Burnout and Work Engagement in Construction Project Management Professionals Due to Work–Family Imbalance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(21), 14111; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192114111 - 28 Oct 2022
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Most current studies on the mental health of construction project management professionals (CPMPs) are conducted from a negative psychological perspective, lacking a comprehensive understanding of the positive–negative interwoven mechanism. This study developed a positive–negative dual-process psychological model of CPMPs to explore the interwoven [...] Read more.
Most current studies on the mental health of construction project management professionals (CPMPs) are conducted from a negative psychological perspective, lacking a comprehensive understanding of the positive–negative interwoven mechanism. This study developed a positive–negative dual-process psychological model of CPMPs to explore the interwoven mechanisms among five variables: family-supportive supervisor behavior (FSSB), work–family conflict, work–family enrichment, job burnout, and work engagement. We conducted a large-scale questionnaire survey among Chinese CPMPs. A total of 656 questionnaires were returned; 446 were considered valid. The groups of CPMPs prone to occupational psychological problems were identified, which enhanced the targeted organizational management in the construction industry. The hypothetical model was verified with SEM. The results revealed that the effect of work–family enrichment was more significant than work–family conflict, which implies that the positive psychology process may play a more prominent role than the negative process. There was a significant correlation between FSSB and work–family conflict/ enrichment; but no direct correlation between FSSB and job burnout/work engagement. This implies that the improvement of the work–family relationship plays a full mediating role in improving CPMPs’ occupational psychological health. This research provides a thorough understanding of CPMPs’ interwoven occupational psychological problems and gives suggestions to enhance their occupational psychological health. Full article
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Article
Work as a Social Determinant of Racial Health Inequalities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 9820; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19169820 - 09 Aug 2022
Viewed by 639
Abstract
Interdisciplinary research posits that work is a social determinant of health contributing to racial inequalities in death, disease, and well-being amongst Black individuals in the United States. This study aims to advance research by integrating two theoretical frameworks (Warr’s Vitamin Model and Assari’s [...] Read more.
Interdisciplinary research posits that work is a social determinant of health contributing to racial inequalities in death, disease, and well-being amongst Black individuals in the United States. This study aims to advance research by integrating two theoretical frameworks (Warr’s Vitamin Model and Assari’s “differential exposure” and “differential gain” mechanisms) to investigate the role of work in eudemonic well-being. We included a nationally representative sample of adults who participated in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Refresher and Milwaukee Refresher projects in 2011–2014, alongside corresponding occupational information (O*NET 17.0). The results of this study indicated that three of nine studied job characteristics systematically differ by race. We found evidence of differential gain by race on psychological well-being. Job characteristics had either benign or negative associations with well-being among Black individuals but consistently positive associations with well-being among non-Black individuals. In contrast to Warr’s Vitamin Model, we found little evidence of curvilinear health effects of job characteristics (only 5.5% were statistically significant). Finally, it was found that advanced educational attainment benefited multiple dimensions of well-being among Black individuals but had benign or negative implications for non-Black individuals, after controlling for demographics. Overall, the results highlight racial inequalities in eudemonic well-being because Black individuals face challenges in obtaining jobs that are beneficial to well-being. Collectively, the results reinforce the idea that work is a social determinant of health. Full article
Article
The Mediating Effect of Fatigue on the Nature Element, Organisational Culture and Task Performance in Central Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8759; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148759 - 19 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 741
Abstract
In the current dynamic business environment, managing the physical working environment of the workforce has become an important part of the company. This study seeks to investigate the effects of the nature element and organisational culture on the task performance of employees with [...] Read more.
In the current dynamic business environment, managing the physical working environment of the workforce has become an important part of the company. This study seeks to investigate the effects of the nature element and organisational culture on the task performance of employees with fatigue as a mediator, based on a sample of 103 white-collar employees who work in the central district of Taichung City during the spring and using a purposive sampling method. The data were collected through a self-administered subjective measurement instrument questionnaire and were analysed using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) path analysis. The results show that organisational culture and task performance were significantly positive. The mediating effect of fatigue caused this relationship to become negative. It was also found that there was a negative relationship between nature elements and task performance. The results provide insights into the importance of employers in providing a healthy workplace which promotes collaboration, health, safety, and the wellbeing of the employee in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The study concludes that future international comparative studies can be performed to identify the best workplace design that can reduce employees’ fatigue and alleviate their current work performance. Full article
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Article
Family-Supportive Supervisor Behaviors and Psychological Distress: A Secondary Analysis across Four Occupational Populations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7845; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137845 - 26 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 696
Abstract
This study assessed the associations of employee’s perceptions of family-supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB) and their psychological distress across four occupational populations (n = 3778): Information technology; healthcare; military-connected Veterans; and National Guard service members. Data were gathered and analyzed from four larger [...] Read more.
This study assessed the associations of employee’s perceptions of family-supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB) and their psychological distress across four occupational populations (n = 3778): Information technology; healthcare; military-connected Veterans; and National Guard service members. Data were gathered and analyzed from four larger archival datasets to compare differences in these relationships. Results revealed significant negative relationships between employee reports of FSSB and their psychological distress within occupations, as expected. Furthermore, results revealed significant differences across occupational populations for employee reports of both FSSB and psychological distress. Hierarchical moderated multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the extent of these mean differences across groups. Results revealed significant differences among these four groups such that the military-connected Veteran employees demonstrated significantly stronger associations of FSSB, and psychological distress compared to the other three occupations of information technology, healthcare, and National Guard service members. These findings suggest the importance of FSSB to worker psychological health across a variety of occupational populations, specifically noting the importance and presence of FSSB for Veteran employees’ psychological distress in civilian workplaces. Practical implications include the need for training leaders on how to better support employees’ work and non-work lives, mental health, and well-being. Full article
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Article
Global and Local Trends Affecting the Experience of US and UK Healthcare Professionals during COVID-19: Twitter Text Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116895 - 04 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Background: Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are on the frontline of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent reports have indicated that, in addition to facing an increased risk of being infected by the virus, HCPs face an increased risk of suffering from emotional difficulties associated with [...] Read more.
Background: Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are on the frontline of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent reports have indicated that, in addition to facing an increased risk of being infected by the virus, HCPs face an increased risk of suffering from emotional difficulties associated with the pandemic. Therefore, understanding HCPs’ experiences and emotional displays during emergencies is a critical aspect of increasing the surge capacity of communities and nations. Methods: In this study, we analyzed posts published by HCPs on Twitter to infer the content of discourse and emotions of the HCPs in the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK), before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tweets of 25,207 users were analyzed using natural language processing (NLP). Results: Our results indicate that HCPs in the two countries experienced common health, social, and political issues related to the pandemic, reflected in their discussion topics, sentiments, and emotional display. However, the experiences of HCPs in the two countries are also subject to local socio-political trends, as well as cultural norms regarding emotional display. Conclusions: Our results support the potential of utilizing Twitter discourse to monitor and predict public health responses in emergencies. Full article
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Article
Seroprevalence of COVID-19 and Psychological Distress among Front Liners at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah Campus during the Third Wave of COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6840; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116840 - 02 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1061
Abstract
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the globe and disrupted various aspects of psychological wellbeing, more so in frontline workers. Research on assessing the seroprevalence of COVID-19 has been scarce; in addition, there are limited studies assessing the association between the seroprevalence of [...] Read more.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the globe and disrupted various aspects of psychological wellbeing, more so in frontline workers. Research on assessing the seroprevalence of COVID-19 has been scarce; in addition, there are limited studies assessing the association between the seroprevalence of COVID-19 and psychological distress. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of COVID-19 and the prevalence of psychological distress and to determine whether sociodemographic variables, occupational information variables, coping styles, and psychological processes might contribute to the development of psychological distress. A cross-sectional study involving 168 Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) front liners was carried out to assess these issues. The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) was employed to assess psychological distress, together with the COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit Antibody (RTK Ab) and a series of questionnaires, including a sociodemographic and occupational information questionnaire, the Balanced Index of Psychological Mindedness (BIPM) questionnaire, the Mindfulness Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS), the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ-II), and the Brief COPE questionnaire. The results demonstrated a seroprevalence of COVID-19 at 8.3% (95% CI = 5.0–14.0). Non-healthcare workers (HCWs) had a higher COVID-19 prevalence. Meanwhile, the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress among front liners was low (3.0%, 3.6%, and 1.2%, respectively). Younger people (aged 30 years old or less) and HCWs had a higher prevalence of psychological distress; being a HCW was significantly associated with a higher level of anxiety. Dysfunctional coping and psychological inflexibility were consistently found to be predictors for higher levels of the three psychological distress variables. This study suggested some alternatives that could be explored by mental health providers to address mental health issues among front liners at universities. Full article
Article
The Predictive Role of Perceived Support from Principals and Professional Identity on Teachers’ Motivation and Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6674; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116674 - 30 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 641
Abstract
The aim of this study was to estimate the influence of perceived support from principals and teacher professional identity (TPI) on teacher’s motivation, vigour and burnout using a longitudinal design during a school year. A sample of 544 secondary teachers reported their perceived [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to estimate the influence of perceived support from principals and teacher professional identity (TPI) on teacher’s motivation, vigour and burnout using a longitudinal design during a school year. A sample of 544 secondary teachers reported their perceived support from principals and TPI at the beginning of the year (T1) and their self-determined motivation, vigour, and burnout both at the beginning (T1) and at the end of the year (T2). Structural equation modelling (SEM) revealed that the support from principals was associated with T1 TPI. T1 TPI only partially predicted T2 self-determined motivation (controlling T1 scores), and T2 self-determined motivation was associated with T2 burnout and vigour (controlling T1 scores). The SEM revealed a positive process involving perceived support from principals, pedagogical expertise, autonomous motivation, and well-being indicators. In summary, the present study extends the knowledge about the teacher well-being process and the role of contextual and individual antecedents. In an applied perspective, to prevent burnout, teachers need efficient initial and continuing pedagogical education to be armed in front of the students and need the support of their principals during the school year. Full article
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Article
“Our Work, Our Health, No One’s Concern”: Domestic Waste Collectors’ Perceptions of Occupational Safety and Self-Reported Health Issues in an Urban Town in Ghana
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6539; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116539 - 27 May 2022
Viewed by 766
Abstract
Domestic waste collectors face major public health hazards that result in injuries and morbidity globally. This study explored domestic waste collectors’ perceptions of occupational safety and self-reported health issues in a city in Ghana using a phenomenological qualitative research design. In-depth interviews and [...] Read more.
Domestic waste collectors face major public health hazards that result in injuries and morbidity globally. This study explored domestic waste collectors’ perceptions of occupational safety and self-reported health issues in a city in Ghana using a phenomenological qualitative research design. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were held with 64 domestic waste collectors from two waste companies. The transcribed data were imported into NVivo 11.0 software (QSR International, Burlington, MA, USA) for coding, and a content analysis was applied to analyze all the transcribed data using the processes of induction and deduction. The consensual views from the domestic waste collectors showed the waste-company employers’ non-interest in the domestic waste collectors’ occupational safety and health. Poor communication from employers to domestic waste collectors and huge workloads were identified as the causes of the poor implementation of occupational safety practices, which exposed the domestic waste collectors to occupational health hazards. The domestic waste collectors reported that they suffered from occupational injuries, psychosocial disorders, work-related stress, and frequent burnout. The domestic waste collectors adopted coping strategies, such as self-medication, to deal with these occupational hazards, since most of them were not covered by guaranteed health insurance. In addition, the study revealed the non-compliance and non-enforcement of occupational health and safety policies by the employers to guide health and safety training and practices among the domestic waste collectors. In conclusion, the findings suggest that DWCs are exposed to occupational safety and health hazards in their work. Waste-company employers should extend welfare benefits to DWCs, such as health insurance and social security benefits, to ensure their security, health, and well-being. The findings could inform the design of intervention programs and policies to guide training and practices for domestic waste collectors. Full article
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Article
The Abysmal Organization of Work and Work Safety Culture Experienced by North Carolina Latinx Women in Farmworker Families
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4516; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084516 - 08 Apr 2022
Viewed by 981
Abstract
The occupational health of immigrant workers in the United States is a major concern. This analysis describes two domains, organization of work and work safety culture, important to the occupational health of Latinx women in farmworker families. Sixty-seven Latinx women in North Carolina [...] Read more.
The occupational health of immigrant workers in the United States is a major concern. This analysis describes two domains, organization of work and work safety culture, important to the occupational health of Latinx women in farmworker families. Sixty-seven Latinx women in North Carolina farmworker families completed a baseline and five follow-up questionnaires in 2019 through 2021. Fifty-nine of the women were employed in the year prior to the Follow-Up 5 Questionnaire. These women experienced an abysmal organization of work and work safety culture. They experienced significant job churn, with most changing employment several times during the 18-month period. Most of their jobs were seasonal, paid less than $10.00 per hour, piece-rate, and almost all without benefits. The women’s jobs had little skill variety (mean 1.5) or decision latitude (mean 1.1), but had high psychological demands (mean 2.0). Work safety climate was very low (mean 13.7), with 76.3% of women noting that their supervisors were “only interested in doing the job fast and cheaply” rather than safely. Women employed as farmworkers versus those in other jobs had few differences. Further research and intervention are needed on the organization of work and work safety culture of Latinx women manual workers. Full article
Article
Role of Empathy and Lifelong Learning Abilities in Physicians and Nurses Who Work in Direct Contact with Patients in Adverse Working Conditions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 3012; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19053012 - 04 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1150
Abstract
Empathy and lifelong learning are two professional competencies that depend on the four principles of professionalism: humanism, altruism, excellence, and accountability. In occupational health, there is evidence that empathy prevents work distress. However, in the case of lifelong learning, the evidence is still [...] Read more.
Empathy and lifelong learning are two professional competencies that depend on the four principles of professionalism: humanism, altruism, excellence, and accountability. In occupational health, there is evidence that empathy prevents work distress. However, in the case of lifelong learning, the evidence is still scarce. In addition, recent studies suggest that the development of lifelong learning varies in physicians and nurses and that it is sensitive to the influence of cultural stereotypes associated with professional roles. This study was performed with the purpose of determining the specific role that empathy and lifelong learning play in the reduction in occupational stress. This study included a sample composed by 40 physicians and 40 nurses with high dedication to clinical work in ambulatory consultations from a public healthcare institution in Paraguay. Somatization, exhaustion, and work alienation, described as indicators of occupational stress, were used as dependent variables, whereas empathy, lifelong learning, gender, discipline, professional experience, civil status, and family burden were used as potential predictors. Three multiple regression models explained 32% of the variability of somatization based on a linear relationship with empathy, lifelong learning, and civil status; 73% of the variability of exhaustion based on a linear relationship with empathy, somatization, work alienation, and discipline; and 62% of the variability of work alienation based on a linear relationship with lifelong learning, exhaustion, and discipline. These findings indicate that empathy and lifelong learning play important roles in the prevention of work distress in physicians and nurses. However, this role varies by discipline. Full article
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Review

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Review
Managers’ Action-Guiding Mental Models towards Mental Health-Related Organizational Interventions—A Systematic Review of Qualitative Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12610; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912610 - 02 Oct 2022
Viewed by 718
Abstract
Research indicates that managers’ active support is essential for the successful implementation of mental health-related organizational interventions. However, there is currently little insight into what subjective beliefs and perceptions (=mental models) make leaders support such interventions. To our knowledge, this is the first [...] Read more.
Research indicates that managers’ active support is essential for the successful implementation of mental health-related organizational interventions. However, there is currently little insight into what subjective beliefs and perceptions (=mental models) make leaders support such interventions. To our knowledge, this is the first qualitative systematic review of this specific topic, and it considers 17 qualitative studies of managers’ perspective. Based on the theory of planned behavior, this review provides an overview of three action-guiding factors (attitudes, organizational norms and behavioral control) that can serve as starting points for engaging managers in the implementation of mental health-related measures and ensuring their success. Our results provide evidence that supportive organizational norms may particularly help to create a common sense of responsibility among managers and foster their perceived controllability with respect to changing working conditions. Our study thus contributes to a more differentiated understanding of managers’ mental models of health-related organizational interventions. Full article
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