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Managers' reactions towards employees' disclosure of psychiatric or somatic diagnoses

  • R. Mendel (a1), W. Kissling (a1), T. Reichhart (a1), M. Bühner (a2) and J. Hamann (a1)...



To study whether employees who disclose a psychiatric diagnosis, such as depression risk stigmatisation and discrimination at the workplace.


Randomised experimental study with 748 managers from German companies incorporating four case vignettes displaying an employee with different ‘diagnoses’ (depression, burnout, private crisis and thyroid dysfunction), but identical unspecific complaints. Main outcome measures were the managers' attitudes and their impact on stigmatisation with respect to job performance.


In nearly all aspects of job performance, the diagnosis depression (psychiatric disorder) was seen as more critical than the diagnosis of a thyroid dysfunction (somatic disease). The diagnosis ‘burnout’ did not prove to be less stigmatising than ‘depression’. Likewise ‘private crisis’ was rated less favourably than thyroid dysfunction.


Therefore, employees have to evaluate if they disclose their psychiatric disorder or if they conceal it as a somatic illness.


Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: Dr J. Hamann, Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Technische Universität München, München, Germany (Email:


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Wheat, K, Brohan, E, Henderson, C, Thornicroft, G (2010). Mental illness and the workplace: conceal or reveal? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 103, 8386.


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Managers' reactions towards employees' disclosure of psychiatric or somatic diagnoses

  • R. Mendel (a1), W. Kissling (a1), T. Reichhart (a1), M. Bühner (a2) and J. Hamann (a1)...


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