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J Occup Health. 2005 May;47(3):226-35.

Effects of a supervisory education for positive mental health in the workplace: a quasi-experimental study.

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Okayama University School of Medicine and Dentistry, Social and Environmental Life Sciences, Social Medicine and Longevity Sciences, Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, Japan.


Single-session supervisory education was developed in conjunction with the Japanese national guidelines for the promotion of employee mental health. Totally 267 voluntary supervisors in a prefectural office were presented with comprehensive information on the role they had to fulfill to promote mental health in the workplace. Totally 864 office employees (53%) were evaluated to determine whether education had had an effect on their psychological distress and job performance. The findings from the departments in which more than one-third of the supervisors had attended education were compared to those from the departments in which no more than one-third of the supervisors had attended education. Three months after the education, the levels of psychological distress and, to a lesser extent, self-reported job performance improved among employees in the departments in which at least one-third of the supervisors attended the education compared to those from departments with lower attendance rates of the supervisors. For the psychological outcome, the positive educational effect was supported by statistically significant interaction terms between time and department category with adjustment for the confounders. Favorable changes were noted among supervisors who received the education in knowledge, attitude, and behavior regarding mental health practices. The behavioral changes were related to decreasing workplace problems and referral of employees to the liaison office and associated medical institutions. Despite several limitations, the findings suggest that providing supervisors with appropriate information has a positive effect on employee psychological well-being.

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