Three Essays on Mental Illness at Work

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Although there is growing interest in mental health from governmental agencies, employees, and workplaces, Follmer and Jones’ (2018) call for additional research on mental illness suggests that this area of research remains understudied. This dissertation explores mental illness at work in the context of PTSD, leader mental health, and the impact of occupational depression on planning, activation, and performance. After a short overview of mental illness at work, Chapter 2 explores workplace stressors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through a systematic review and meta-analysis of 85 studies, finding that workplace job demands, exposure to violence, sexual harassment, bullying, and injury are all positively related to PTSD symptomology. Additional moderator analysis suggests that the measurement of PTSD and employee occupational group affect the relationship between workplace stressors and PTSD symptoms. Chapter 3 investigates leader mental health, providing a comprehensive review of the 33 articles on leader mental health. Folk beliefs of leadership suggest that leaders should have good mental health: they have high job control, are compensated more, enjoy higher socioeconomic status, less bullying, and less injustice. However, despite these positive work aspects, there are organizational factors that would suggest that leaders should suffer from mental health problems, such as increased demands, higher workload and responsibility, work-family and family-work conflict, and the inability to detach from work. This systematic review suggests that leaders are not immune to mental health problems: they experience burnout, stress, depression, anxiety, mental distress, and sleep problems due to a variety of personal and situational factors. Finally, Chapter 4 tests a multilevel model of planning, exploring the impact of occupational depression and interruptions on planning, activation, and performance, where time management planning and contingent planning lead to activation, occupational depression and interruptions moderate those relationships, and activation ultimately leads to performance. Using an experiment combined with experience sampling methods, the results suggest slightly different results at the between-person and within-person levels. However, the consistent finding at both levels was that occupational depression moderates the relationship between time management planning and activation, and between contingent planning and activation.
mental illness, mental health, leadership, planning
Dumaisnil, A. (2022). Three Essays on Mental Illness at Work (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from