Workplace problems, mental health and substance use

Johanna Catherine Maclean, Douglas Webber, Michael T. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Little is known about how workplace problems may influence diagnosable mental health and substance use (MHSU) disorders. We examine the associations between three common workplace problems (experiencing problems with co-workers, job changes and perceived financial strain) and three MHSU disorders (mood, anxiety and substance abuse/dependence). The analysis utilizes longitudinal data on a sample of working-age adults from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. These data are well suited for our research objective as the survey was specifically designed to study MHSU disorders. Results show that experiencing these workplace problems is associated with an increased risk for mental health disorders, but not substance use disorders. Importantly, various robustness checks and sensitivity analyses demonstrate that our findings cannot be not fully explained by omitted variables, reverse causality or sample attrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-905
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 19 2015


  • alcohol use
  • illicit drug use
  • mental health
  • workplace problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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