Acceptance and barriers to access of occupational e-mental health: cross-sectional findings from a health-risk population of employees

Severin Hennemann*, Michael Witthöft, Matthias Bethge, Katja Spanier, Manfred E. Beutel, Rüdiger Zwerenz

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Occupational e-mental-health (OEMH) may extend existing instruments for preservation or restoration of health and work ability. As a key precondition to efficient implementation, this study examined acceptance and person-centered barriers to potential uptake of OEMH for work-related distress in employees with an elevated risk of early retirement. Methods: Within the framework of the “Third German Sociomedical Panel of Employees”, 1829 employees with prior sickness absence payments filled out a self-administered questionnaire. Participants had a mean age of 49.93 years (SD = 4.06). 6.2% indicated prior use of eHealth interventions. Potential predictors of acceptance of OEMH were examined based on the “Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology” (UTAUT) extended by work ability, mental health, eHealth literacy and demographic characteristics. Results: 89.1% (n = 1579) showed low to moderate acceptance (M = 2.20, SD = 1.05, range 1–5). A path analysis revealed significant, positive direct effects of UTAUT predictors on acceptance (performance expectancy: 0.48, SE = 0.02, p OpenSPiltSPi 0.001; effort expectancy: 0.20, SE = 0.02, p OpenSPiltSPi 0.001; social influence: 0.28, SE = 0.02, p OpenSPiltSPi 0.001).Online time and frequency of online health information search were further positive direct predictors of acceptance. Model fit was good [χ2(7) = 12.91, p = 0.07, RMSEA = 0.02, CFI = 1.00, TLI = 0.99, SRMR = 0.01]. Conclusions: Attitudes towards OEMH are rather disadvantageous in the studied risk group. Implementation of OEMH, therefore, requires a-priori education including promotion of awareness, favorable attitudes regarding efficacy and usability in a collaborative approach.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)305-316
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)


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