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Coping with mental health conditions at work and its impact on self-perceived job performance

Sophie Hennekam (Department of Management, Audencia Business School, Nantes, France) (Institut de Recherche en Gestion des Organisations, Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France)
Sarah Richard (EM Strasbourg Business School, Strasbourg, France)
François Grima (University of Paris-East Créteil, Creteil, Paris, France)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 21 February 2020

Issue publication date: 26 March 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This exploratory qualitative study examines both the impact of mental health conditions on self-perceived job performance and how individuals with mental health conditions cope with their conditions at work.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 257 responses to a qualitative questionnaire and 17 in-depth interviews with individuals with mental health conditions are analyzed.

Findings

The findings show that mental health conditions can negatively impact self-perceived job performance in the form of lower quality of one's work, slower pace, and more mistakes. In addition, the findings reveal coping strategies that positively and negatively affect one’s performance at work. Strategies that negatively influence one’s performance include substance abuse and self-harm, suppressing and hiding one's symptoms, and forcing oneself to continue to work when feeling unwell. Coping strategies that tend to positively affect their performance include accepting one's condition and taking time off, medication and counseling, mindfulness activities, transparent communication, humor, and a compensation strategy.

Originality/value

A growing number of individuals struggle with mental health conditions at work, impacting both organizations and employees. However, little is known about the influence of mental health conditions on one's performance at work, how individuals cope with their mental health conditions at work, and what effect those coping strategies have on organization-relevant outcomes.

Keywords

Citation

Hennekam, S., Richard, S. and Grima, F. (2020), "Coping with mental health conditions at work and its impact on self-perceived job performance", Employee Relations, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 626-645. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-05-2019-0211

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited