There is strong evidence that work itself, despite its risks, reduces the risk of depression and improves mental health. Mental health is a non-contextual concept which can be defined as the absence of mental illness, and with the opportunity to develop and flourish. The concept of wellbeing at work is inclusive, relating to the physical environment, work-related risks, organization of work and tasks, relationships with colleagues, personal health and work ability and even family-related stress. The large numbers of work-related mental unhealthy call for actions in improving working conditions, but which are the important determinants to be influenced? Hence, the aim of this study was to review current knowledge concerning determinants for mental health and wellbeing at work.
A comprehensive literature search was conducted in nine scientific databases for articles published 2000 and forward. The exclusion by titles were made by one of the researcher, the further selection was made by two researchers independently.
Of the 4262 found unique publications 27 were included encompassing 7 reviews,
12 cohort-, 5 cross-sectional-, and 3 qualitative studies.
Of the 4262 found unique publications 27 were included encompassing 7 reviews, 12 cohort-, 5 cross-sectional-, and 3 qualitative studies.The most frequently investigated determinants for mental health and wellbeing at work were, in descending order:
- Style of leadership: transformative, transactional, positive, employee oriented, ethical, supportive as well as managers own wellbeing
- Empowerment; Autonomy; Control at work; Participation
- Possibilities for own development
- Positive work climate- Social support from supervisor
- Communication supervisor-employee
- Clear goals
- Appreciation from supervisors, colleagues, customers
- Work time control; Enough time
- Effort-reward balance
- Intellectually stimulating
- Job security
Independent of study design leadership is the most investigated factor, which can be interpreted as a sign of its influence on the mental health of the employees. Beside the explicit influence of leadership styles on the employees’ mental health, several studies show an implicit influence, e.g. (enabling) support at work, skilled communication, empowerment, control, treated with respect and intellectual stimulation.Working conditions arise in the interaction between the individual and the organization, not least psychosocial conditions. Prevention and establishment of good working conditions cannot be put on the individual; it must be organized in the workplace for the employees in that special context.