Mental Health at Work: Misconceptions and Missed Opportunities

  • Ali Haggett
Open Access
Chapter
Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series

Abstract

In 1942, the Medical Research Council’s Industrial Health Research Board initiated an investigation, led by Dr Russell Fraser and Dr Elizabeth Bunbury, into neurotic illness as a cause of absence from work. Prompted by concerns about industrial efficiency during wartime, the research focused on light and medium engineering industries from Birmingham and Greater London and attempted to gauge the ‘true incidence’ of the condition and ‘its effects on production’.1 Their study of 3,000 workers found that 9.1 per cent of male workers and 13 per cent of female workers had suffered from what was described as ‘definite’ neurosis.2 The number of male cases uncovered in this study was significantly higher than those that were to emerge later in studies during the 1950s and 1960s from general practice, which broadly suggested a female to male ratio of 2:1. Once again, a familiar feature of this study was that greater numbers of men were diagnosed with what Fraser described as ‘disabling psychosomatic symptoms’ (3.5 per cent of men and 2.1 per cent of women). When the figures are taken together, it would appear that psychological and psychosomatic illness was a significant problem for men as well as women.

Notes

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Copyright information

© Ali Haggett 2015

Open Access This Chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Haggett
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ExeterUK

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