The multilevel determinants of workers’ mental health: results from the SALVEO study



This study examined the contribution of work, non-work and individual factors on workers’ symptoms of psychological distress, depression and emotional exhaustion based on the multilevel determinants of workers’ mental health model.


Data from the SALVEO Study were collected in 2009–2012 from a sample of 1,954 employees nested in 63 workplaces in the province of Quebec (Canada). Multilevel regression models were used to analyse the data.


Altogether, variables explain 32.2 % of psychological distress, 48.4 % of depression and 48.8 % of emotional exhaustion. Mental health outcomes varied slightly between workplaces and skill utilisation, physical and psychological demands, abusive supervision, interpersonal conflicts and job insecurity are related to the outcomes. Living in couple, having young children at home, family-to-work conflict, work-to-family conflict, strained marital and parental relations, and social support outside the workplace associated with the outcomes. Most of the individual characteristics also correlated with the three outcomes. Importantly, non-work and individual factors modulated the number and type of work factors related to the three outcomes.


The results of this study suggest expanding perspectives on occupational mental health that fully recognise the complexity of workers’ mental health determinants.

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This study was supported by the Canadian Health Research Institutes under Grant number: 200607MHF-164381-MHF-CFCA-155960, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé under Grant number: 13928. The authors also thank Standard Life Canada for their help in workplace recruitment and Marie-Eve Blanc and Julie Dextras-Gauthier for the field work.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Alain Marchand.

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Marchand, A., Durand, P., Haines, V. et al. The multilevel determinants of workers’ mental health: results from the SALVEO study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 50, 445–459 (2015).

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  • Mental health
  • Work conditions
  • Family
  • Social network
  • Individual characteristics