Campus Tilburg University hoogleraren

PhD Defense G.M. van Hees MSc

Date: Time: 13:30 Location: Aula

Supporting employees with common mental health problems at work: a realist approach

  • Location: Cobbenhagen building, Aula
  • Supervisor: Prof. R.W.B. Blonk
  • Co-supervisors: Dr. S. Oomens, Dr. B. Carlier

One in five people experience mental health problems during their working life. Workers with common psychological problems (VVPP), such as stress, anxiety, depression or mental fatigue, are more likely to experience problems at work. This leads to negative work outcomes, such as reduced productivity or absenteeism. Drawing from the literature and various workplace stakeholders, this thesis answers the question "What works, for whom, under what conditions and how?" through a realist research approach. Our studies showed that behavioural preventive intervention strengthened managers' awareness, self-confidence, skills and behaviour to support employees. Where managers are not allowed to ask about the medical condition due to privacy, they can ask the employee about the ability to work and match it to the work and work environment through (temporary) work adjustments. This creates more focus on capabilities and functioning in work, instead of focusing on disorders and limitations of working people with VVPP.

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