The Relationship between Gender, Cumulative Adversities and Mental Health of Employees in Workplace Settings in Gauteng Province, South Africa

  • E Idemudia
  • M Mabunda
Keywords: Gender, Cumulative adversities, Mental Health, Employees, Workplace setting, Gauteng Province, South Africa


This study investigated whether (1) males and females will differ on cumulative adversities (CAs) and exposure to violence during childhood (hypothesis one) and (2) whether CAs and exposure to violence will predict poor mental health report (hypothesis two). CAs were measured in three forms (family adversities (CAFam), personal adversities (CAPerAdv) and childhood adversities (CAChildAdv). Exposure to violence was either indirect (CEDV1) or direct (CEDV2). Mental health was measured with GHQ-28. Five hundred participants were randomly selected from three hospital complexes in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Data was collected using a questionnaire with three sections. Age of employees ranged between 18-65 years. Males were 251 (50.2%) and females were 249 (49.8%). Mean age of employees was 33.8 years (SD= 11.0). Results of the study showed significant differences between males and females on two of the CA measurements: Family adversities (CA FamAdv), t = (498) =3.64, p<.0001 and Personal adversity (CAPerAdv), t = (498) = 2.37, p<.01. Males had higher mean scores than females on Family adversities (X-bar 4.87 versus X-bar 3.73) and personal adversities (X-bar 3.11 versus X-bar 2.52). In addition, there was also a significant main effect for direct exposure to violence (CEDV2), t = (498) = 3.00, p<.003 with males scoring higher than females (X-bar 16.9 versus X-bar 14.5). There were no significant results for Cumulative Childhood adversity(CA.ChildAdv), indirect exposure (CEDV1) and the four subscales of mental health-somatic complaints, anxiety, social dysfunctions and depression and gender. Results also show that family, personal, childhood adversities, indirect and direct exposure to violence in childhood jointly predicted poor mental health, R2 = 0.35, F (5, 440) = 47.49, p<.0001 explaining 59% of the total variance on poor mental health. Only personal adversities, (b = .35, t (445) = 7.56, p < .01), direct exposure (CEDV2) (b= .37, t(445= 6.25, p < .01 ) and indirect exposure (CEDV1) (b = -.123, t (445)= -2.18, p < .05) significantly predicted poor mental health outcomes. Gender did not predict poor mental health outcome and therefore was excluded in the model. Recommendations were made in light of the findings of the study including a regular psychological evaluation of workers in wellness programmes.

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eISSN: 1596-9231