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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)...

Abstract

Aims.

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

Methods.

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.

Results.

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.

Conclusions.

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

Copyright

Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: Dr J. Hamann, Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Technische Universität München, München, Germany (Email: j.hamann@lrz.tum.de)

References

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Bahlmann, J, Angermeyer, MC, Schomerus, G (2013). Calling it “Burnout” instead of “Depression” – a strategy to avoid stigma? Psychiatrische Praxis 40, 7882.
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Hamann, J, Parchmann, A, Mendel, R, Buhner, M, Reichhart, T, Kissling, W (2013). Understanding the term burnout in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Nervenarzt 84, 838843.
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Henderson, C, Evans-Lacko, S, Thornicroft, G (2013). Mental illness stigma, help seeking, and public health programs. American Journal of Public Health 103, 777–750.
Little, K, Henderson, C, Brohan, E, Thornicroft, G (2011). Employers' attitudes to people with mental health problems in the workplace in Britain: changes between 2006 and 2009. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 20, 7381.
Thornicroft, G, Brohan, E, Kassam, A, Lewis-Holmes, E (2008). Reducing stigma and discrimination: candidate interventions. International Journal of Mental Health Systems 2, 3.
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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