International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 750–756 | Cite as

Associations Between Supportive Leadership and Employees Self-Rated Health in an Occupational Sample

  • Burkhard SchmidtEmail author
  • Adrian Loerbroks
  • Raphael M. Herr
  • Mark G. Wilson
  • Marc N. Jarczok
  • David Litaker
  • Daniel Mauss
  • Jos A. Bosch
  • Joachim E. Fischer



Protecting the health of the work force has become an important issue in public health research.


This study aims to explore potential associations between supportive leadership style (SLS), an aspect of leadership behavior, and self-rated health (SRH) among employees.


We drew on cross-sectional data from a cohort of industrial workers (n = 3,331), collected in 2009. We assessed employees' ratings of supportive, employee-oriented leadership behavior at their job, their SRH, and work stress as measured by the effort–reward model and scales measuring demands, control, and social support. Logistic regression estimated odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between the perception of poor SLS and poor SRH controlling for work-related stress and other confounders. Sensitivity analyses stratified models by sex, age, and managerial position to test the robustness of associations.


Perception of poor SLS was associated with poor SRH [OR 2.39 (95 % CI 1.95–2.92)]. Although attenuated following adjustment for measures of work-related stress and other confounders [OR 1.60 (95 % CI 1.26–2.04)], the magnitude, direction, and significance of this association remained robust in stratified models in most subgroups.


SLS appears to be relevant to health in the workplace. Leadership behavior may represent a promising area for future research with potential for promoting better health in a large segment of the adult population.


Leadership Self-rated health Occupational Health Workplace Work stress 



We want to thank the HealthVision Ltd. for providing us with data for this study.

Conflict of Interest

Prof. Dr. Joachim E. Fischer is a scientific advisor for HealthVision Ltd., the company providing data for this analysis.

Supplementary material

12529_2013_9345_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 13.7 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burkhard Schmidt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adrian Loerbroks
    • 1
    • 2
  • Raphael M. Herr
    • 1
  • Mark G. Wilson
    • 3
  • Marc N. Jarczok
    • 1
  • David Litaker
    • 1
    • 4
  • Daniel Mauss
    • 1
  • Jos A. Bosch
    • 1
    • 5
  • Joachim E. Fischer
    • 1
  1. 1.Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty MannheimUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Sociology, Medical FacultyHeinrich Heine UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  3. 3.Department of Health Promotion and BehaviorUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medicine, Epidemiology and BiostatisticsCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  5. 5.Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Programme Group Clinical PsychologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands

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