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Positive Indicators of Mental Health

Well-being and work engagement as positive indicators

The importance of mental health for persons in gainful employment should not be underestimated, as it represents an important precondition for a healthy and productive life.

Although they play a decisive part for working life, up to now positive indicators of mental health have been researched less than negative indicators, such as depression or burnout.

Changes in perspective through research into positive indicators

The examination of the positive indicators of mental health corresponds to a change in perspective that has been emerging for some years in both science and health policies. (Mental) health is no longer reduced to the question of whether a disorder or an illness exists. It is increasingly understood as a continuum which extends far beyond these elements and comprises characteristics such as well-being, satisfaction and work engagement.

Work and well-being

Well-being is fundamentally of great significance in our lives. It is also important for the functional capacity and productivity of employees. In our research, we have addressed two different concepts - subjective (hedonic) well-being and psychological (eudaimonic) well-being.

Subjective well-being

Subjective well-being is used to describe how well people feel and how satisfied they are. Firstly, it includes cognitive evaluations of a person’s own life, for example satisfaction with their life or work. Secondly, it comprises emotional components such as positive and negative affectivity (or their absence).

Psychological well-being

Psychological or eudaimonic well-being focusses on whether an individual is leading a “good life” and is able to develop to his/her full potential. According to this concept, people have a high degree of well-being if they experience their lives in a meaningful way, are able to develop on a continuous basis, and have positive relationships with other people. All of these aspects are closely connected with employment-related characteristics, as interpersonal relationships don’t just play a decisive role in an individual’s private sphere: good relationships with co-workers and line managers are also important to a person’s well-being.

Work and work engagement

The well-being of persons in gainful employment is also decisive to their workplace motivation, which is evident, for example, in their form of workplace engagement. The greater their degree of workplace engagement, the better their workplace performance and health usually are as well. Workplace engagement can be strengthened with the support of line managers and co-workers, as well as by opportunities for further training.

Research goals

The well-being of persons in gainful employment is also decisive to their workmotivation, which becomes evident, for example, in the form of work engagement. The higher the degree of work engagement, the better the work performance and health usually are as well. Work engagement can be strengthened with the support of line managers and co-workers, as well as by opportunities for further training.

Research Projects

Contact

Unit 3.4 "Mental Health and Cognitive Capacity"

Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Nöldnerstr. 40-42 D-10317 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 231 9071-2071 Fax: +49 31 9071-2070

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