Work-related stress and addiction to work

Van Gordon, W., et al. (2014). Work-Related Mental Health and Job Performance: Can Mindfulness Help?. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-9. Abstract.

Work-related mental health issues such as work-related stress and addiction to work impose a significant health and economic burden to the employee, the employing organization, and the country of work more generally. Interventions that can be empirically shown to improve levels of work-related mental health—especially those with the potential to concurrently improve employee levels of work performance—are of particular interest to occupational stakeholders.

One such broad-application interventional approach currently of interest to occupational stakeholders in this respect is mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). Following a brief explication of the mindfulness construct, this paper critically discusses current research directions in the utilization of mindfulness in workplace settings and assesses its suitability for operationalization as an organization-level work-related mental health intervention. By effecting a perceptual-shift in the mode of responding and relating to sensory and cognitive-affective stimuli, employees that undergo mindfulness training may be able to transfer the locus of control for stress from external work conditions to internal metacognitive and attentional resources.

Therefore, MBIs may constitute cost-effective organization-level interventions due to not actually requiring any modifications to human resource management systems and practises. Based on preliminary empirical findings and on the outcomes of MBI studies with clinical populations, it is concluded that MBIs appear to be viable interventional options for organizations wishing to improve the mental health of their employees.

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