Expectations of Mental Illness Disclosure Outcomes in the Work Context: a Cross-Sectional Study Among Dutch Workers

Beukering IE van, M. Bakker, P.W. Corrigan, Sait Gürbüz, R.I. Bogaers, K.M.E. Janssens, M.C.W. Joosen, E.P.M. Brouwers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: The decision whether to disclose mental illness at work can have important positive and negative consequences for sustainable employment and well-being. The aim of the study is (1) to examine workers' expectations of outcomes of mental illness disclosure in the workplace and to evaluate their expectations regarding which factors are of influence on these outcomes, (2) to identify distinct subgroups of workers, and (3) to characterize these subgroups in terms of personal, sociodemographic, and work-related characteristics. Methods: In this cross-sectional survey study, a sample of 1224 Dutch workers was used. Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was used to identify classes of workers based on expected workplace mental illness outcomes. A three-step approach LCA was chosen to investigate whether the classes differed in characteristics. Results: The majority of workers expected predominantly positive outcomes of workplace mental illness disclosure (e.g., being able to be one's authentic self; 82.4%), even though they simultaneously expected disclosure to lead to advancement-related discrimination (e.g., lower chances of contract renewal; or getting a promotion; 68.4% and 57%, respectively). Six distinct subgroups of workers were identified based on expected workplace mental illness disclosure outcomes: two positive classes (50.1%), two negative classes (33.3%), and two classes who indicated not to know what the outcomes would be (16.7%). Significant differences between the classes were found on personal experience, work-related association with mental illness, gender, educational level, and workplace atmosphere. Conclusion: The disclosure process is complex, as most workers were optimistic (i.e., expected generally positive outcomes) whilst simultaneously expecting workplace discrimination. Subgroup differences in expectations regarding workplace mental illness disclosure outcomes were found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-663
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Early online date8 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • disclosure
  • discrimination
  • expectations
  • mental illness
  • work


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