Anxious People, Please Apply! No Evidence for Decreased Perceptions of Employability in Individuals with Mental and Physical Illness Compared to Healthy Controls

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Abstract

This paper builds on and updates Koser et al. (1999) and Feria et al. (2014) by investigating the degree to which individuals applying for executive, administrative and manual job positions may experience bias in selection, owing to self-reported mental and/or physical disabilities in a United Kingdom (UK) sample. Comparing the impact of different disclosed disabilities on anticipated candidate selection ratings found no evidence that people with a former mental or physical illness were rated lower than those without such conditions. Mediation analyses revealed anticipated deficits in attributes stereotypically low in mental health patients, i.e., dependability or resilience, contributed to participants’ negativity in predicted competence of presented candidates. Our findings suggest that disclosing a psychiatric history of anxiety in an employment context may not impact career opportunities. However, heightened associations with mental illness stereotypes were shown to impact the professional fitness evaluations of individuals disclosing previous mental ill health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-336
JournalNorth American Journal of Psychology
Volume24
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Anxiety disorder
  • employment outcomes
  • hiring decisions
  • workers with mental illness
  • discrimination

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