Leadership and psychological health

(in German)

Objective: Based on recent research literature, the associations between leadership behaviour and the psychological health of employees are reviewed.

Method: A systematic scoping review of the literature was conducted using several databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PSYNDEX, WISO). The search string combined the issues "leadership", "workplace context", and "psychological health". The following leadership concepts were examined: 1) transformational leadership, 2) employee-oriented leadership, 3) task-oriented leadership, 4) ethical/authentic leadership, 5) destructive leadership, and 6) leader-employee-interaction. The relationships between these leadership styles and several aspects of psychological health, as reported in the primary studies, were extracted and aggregated.

Results: Overall, 217 studies were examined and 703 associations were extracted. The studies were mainly conducted in the fields of organisational psychology or management research. Small to moderate effects were found for the relationship between leadership and psychological health. Leadership as a resource includes high levels of transformational and employeeoriented leadership as well as a high quality of leader-employee interaction. In contrast, the negative effects of destructive leadership on employees' health imply that leadership can also take the effect of a stressor.

Conclusions: Despite statistical effects being small or moderate, leadership plays a significant role in employees' psychological health. In particular, it becomes evident that a health-promotive design of leadership affects further aspects of work design (e.g. task design, working time, perceived uncertainty, perceived organisational justice).

This article is published in the Journal "Arbeitsmedizin, Sozialmedizin, Umweltmedizin : ASU, Zeitschrift für medizinische Prävention", Volume 53, Issue December 2018, pp. 15-19.

Please download the article "Leadership and psychological health" (in German only).

Bibliographic information

Title:  Führung und psychische Gesundheit

Written by:  F. Pundt, B. Thomson, D. Montano, A. Reeske

in: Arbeitsmedizin, Sozialmedizin, Umweltmedizin : ASU, Zeitschrift für medizinische Prävention, Volume 53, Sonderheft, 2018.  pages: 15-19, Project number: F 2353

Further Information

Research Project

Project numberF 2353 StatusCompleted Project Mental health in the working world - determining the current state of scientific evidence

To the Project

Research completed