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Economic stress in the workplace: The impact of fear of the crisis on mental health


BACKGROUND: Since 2008, a deep financial crisis, which started in the United States, has widely spread around the world. Scientists expressed their worry about this crisis by pointing out that potential negative health effects can be created by collective fear and panic.

OBJECTIVES: The main purpose of this cross-sectional study on the fear of the crisis has been to examine its impact on mental health through the use of structural equation modeling. In the trial a new model of economic stress we were also interested in identifying if fear of the crisis has an indirect relationship with employees' health (e.g. related to a poor social support or to work-related stress). Furthermore, this study aimed to examine whether a full or a partial mediation model best fits the data.

METHODS: Data collection took place between 2010 and 2011. During this period several private organizations that comprised of 1236 employees participated in the study.

RESULTS: It was found that social support and job stress fully mediated the relationship between fear of the crisis and health, with all fit indices meeting their respective criteria, and with all path coefficients being significant.

CONCLUSIONS: Implications for discussion of the crisis among employees were presented. In conclusion, fear of the crisis appeared to be an important innovative construct for organizational wellbeing.