Non-Listening and Self Centered Leadership - Relationships to Socioeconomic Conditions and Employee Mental Health

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Background: The way in which leadership is experienced in different socioeconomic strata is of interest per se, as well as how it relates to employee mental health. Methods: Three waves of SLOSH (Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health, a questionnaire survey on a sample of the Swedish working population) were used, 2006, 2008 and 2010 (n = 5141). The leadership variables were: "Non-listening leadership" (one question: "Does your manager listen to you?" - four response categories), "Self centered leadership" (sum of three five-graded questions - "non-participating", "asocial" and "loner"). The socioeconomic factors were education and income. Emotional exhaustion and depressive symptoms were used as indicators of mental health. Results: Non-listening leadership was associated with low income and low education whereas self-centered leadership showed a weaker relationship with education and no association at all with income. Both leadership variables were significantly associated with emotional exhaustion and depressive symptoms. "Self centered" as well as "non-listening" leadership in 2006 significantly predicted employee depressive symptoms in 2008 after adjustment for demographic variables. These predictions became non-significant when adjustment was made for job conditions (demands and decision latitude) in the "non-listening" leadership analyses, whereas predictions of depressive symptoms remained significant after these adjustments in the "self-centered leadership" analyses. Conclusions: Our results show that the leadership variables are associated with socioeconomic status and employee mental health. "Non-listening" scores were more sensitive to societal change and more strongly related to socioeconomic factors and job conditions than "self-centered" scores. © 2012 Theorell et al.




Theorell, T., Nyberg, A., Leineweber, C., Magnusson Hanson, L. L., Oxenstierna, G., & Westerlund, H. (2012). Non-Listening and Self Centered Leadership - Relationships to Socioeconomic Conditions and Employee Mental Health. PLoS ONE, 7(9).

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