Mental health of South African industrial psychologists: results of a latent profile analysis
Nieman, Carmine Lizanne
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Industrial psychologists’ mental health is very important, since it could not only have direct negative consequences for themselves, but also for their clients, peers and ultimately the organisation’s bottom line. Furthermore, industrial psychologists are responsible for the wellbeing of employees, the human welfare at work and can be considered the primary role models for happiness and hope in organisations. Monitoring and evaluating their mental health are therefore crucial. Industrial psychologists face various challenges that could affect their mental health negatively, for example, a misfit between their actual work-related activities and their desired work-related domains, role confusion between being an industrial psychologist or human resource practitioner, and incongruence associated with their roles and professional designations as managers versus industrial psychologists. Mental health can be defined as more than just the absence of psychopathology; it can also refer to the presence of emotional, psychological and social well-being. Mental health can further be described as comprising three profiles: languishing, moderately mentally healthy and flourishing. Industrial psychologists with different mental health profiles could further have different experiences in the core work-related aspects of their lives such as meaningful work-role fit and work engagement. Similarly, industrial psychologists with different mental health profiles may further differ according to the managerial roles they occupy. The purpose of this study was to identify distinctive mental health profiles for industrial and organisational psychologists and to determine how these profiles differ in respect of meaningful work-role fit, work engagement, and whether they occupied managerial and non-managerial roles. Industrial psychologists experience an identity crisis as a result of managerial and industrial psychology roles, influencing their meaningful work-role fit, work engagement, and mental health. Information on their different experiences of managerial roles, meaningful work-role fit, and work engagement presents a relevant context for studying their different experiences of mental health. The data used for this study was collected using a cross-sectional online-survey research design. A census sample (n = 272) of South African industrial psychologists was taken of the total population (N = 1167). A biographical questionnaire, the Work-Role Fit Scale, the Psychological Meaningfulness Scale, the Work Engagement Scale and the Mental Health Continuum Short-Form were administered. A latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to identify unique subgroups of industrial psychologists’ mental health; multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was then used to determine differences between the three mental health profiles by means of meaningful work-role fit, work engagement and managerial role. When an effect was significant in MANOVA, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to discover which dependent variables had been impacted. The results indicated that three profiles of mental health of industrial psychologists could be extracted: languishing, moderately mentally healthy and flourishing. The results showed significant differences between the three mental health profiles of industrial psychologists and meaningful work-role fit, work engagement and managerial roles. Industrial psychologists with different mental health profiles may therefore experience meaningful work-role fit, work engagement and managerial roles differently. The results further indicated that significant differences exist between the three mental health profiles and meaningful work-role fit. Flourishing industrial psychologists experience higher levels of meaningful work-role fit than industrial psychologists experiencing languishing and moderate mental health. The results also showed that significant differences exist between the three mental health profiles and work engagement. Flourishing individuals were more engaged than their moderately mentally healthy and languishing counterparts. The results further showed that there were no significant differences between the three mental health profiles and managerial roles. Industrial psychologists with different mental health profiles may therefore not differ according to the managerial roles they occupy. Recommendations pertaining to future research were made.