Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing in Construction Workers: Understanding the Role of Work and the Conditions of Work

Overview

Mental health and well-being among construction workers is a significant public health burden in the US. The commercial construction industry is a highly dynamic work organization with diverse psychosocial factors and significant physical hazards (e.g. fall hazards); as a result, workers have a high prevalence of work related injuries and high-risk health behaviors

(e.g., tobacco use) that limit their overall workability and productivity. More work is needed to understand the ways in which the work environment of construction including work organization and psychosocial factors may be contributing to these high levels of substance use and poor mental health outcomes, exacerbating pre-existing health challenges and providing opportunities to best support construction worker mental health and well-being.

Programs to improve construction worker health and safety, need to target the worksite environment through the site’s multiple employers (general contractors and subcontractors). Our innovative approach is to determine the role of the work environment in worker mental health and well-being within the context of Total Worker Health® framework. Previous approaches to improve the health and safety of construction workers have often focused on the individual worker. These approaches include targeting workers when they are enrolled in apprentice programs, and targeting workers through social media campaigns via posters at worksites and/or brochures sent to union members.15 However, best practices involve ecologic system-level approaches that comprehensively integrate workplace systems relevant to the worker safety, health, and wellbeing.

A collaboration with Northeastern University Department of Sociology and Physical Therapy .

Goal

The long term goal is to develop and test work-site and employer based programs to improve the mental health and wellbeing in construction workers within the Total Worker Health® framework.

Project Team

Alisa Lincoln - Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, Northeastern University

Alisa K. Lincoln
Principal Investigators
Northeastern University

Jack Dennerlein - Northeastern University

Jack Dennerlein
Co-PI
Northeastern University

Steven Vallas - Northeastern University

Steven Vallas
Co-PI
Northeastern University

Suzanne Garverich

Suzanne Garverich
Research Project Manager
Northeastern University

Mara Eyllon - Northeastern University

Mara Eyllon
Northeastern University

Daniel Weinstein - Northeastern University

Dan Weinstein
Research Assistant
Northeastern University