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Line managers’ hiring intentions regarding people with mental health problems: A cross-sectional study on workplace stigma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Kim M.E. Janssens, Jaap van Weeghel, Carolyn Dewa, Claire Henderson, Jolanda J.P. Mathijssen, Margot C.W. Joosen, Evelien P.M. Brouwers

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-547
Number of pages7
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number8
Published1 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Acknowledgements In this paper we make use of data of the LISS (Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social sciences) panel administered by CentERdata (Tilburg University, The Netherlands). We want to thank the Tilburg University Alumni Fund for their financial support. Contributors EPMB, MCWJ, JvW and KJ designed the study. EPMB was project leader. EPMB and JvW acquired funding for the study. JM assisted in the statistical analyses of the study. KJ wrote the (revised) manuscript and EPMB, MCWJ, JW, CD, CH and JM provided feedback on the (revised) manuscript. All authors named adhere to the authorship guidelines of the trials and agreed to publication. All authors read and approved the final manuscript and revised manuscript and no professional writer has been involved. Publisher Copyright: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Stigma may negatively affect line managers’ intention to hire people with mental health problems (MHP). This study aims to evaluate line managers’ knowledge and attitudes concerning job applicants with MHP, and to assess which factors are associated with the intention (not) to hire an applicant with MHP. A sample of Dutch line managers (N=670) filled out a questionnaire on their knowledge, attitudes and experiences concerning applicants/employees with MHP. Descriptive analyses and multiple regression analyses were used. The majority (64%) was reluctant to hire a job applicant with MHP, despite the fact that only 7% had negative and 52% had positive personal experiences with such employees. Thirty per cent were reluctant to hire an applicant if they knew the applicant had past MHP. Associated with higher reluctance to hire an applicant with MHP were the concerns that it will lead to long-term sickness absence (β (95% CI)=0.39 (0.23 to 0.55)), that the employee cannot handle the work (β (95% CI)=0.16 (0.00 to 0.33)) that one cannot count on the employee (β (95% CI)=0.41 (0.23 to 0.58)) and higher manager education level (β (95% CI)=0.25 (0.05 to 0.44)). Conversely, associated with positive hiring intentions was being in favour of diversity and/or inclusive enterprise (β(95% CI)=−0.64 (−0.87 to −0.41)). As the majority of managers were reluctant to hire applicants with MHP, and even 30% were reluctant to hire applicants who had past MHP, these findings have major implications for social inclusion in the Netherlands, where about 75% of employees would disclose MHP at work.

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