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Cross-cultural comparison of mental health between Japanese and Dutch workers: Relationships with mental health shame, self-compassion, work engagement and motivationThe primary purpose of this descriptive study was to compare the levels of, and relationships among mental health problems, mental health shame, self-compassion, work engagement, and work motivation between workers in Japan (collectivistic and success-driven culture) and the Netherlands (individualistic and quality-oriented culture). A cross-sectional design, where convenience samples of 165 Japanese and 160 Dutch workers completed self-report measures about mental health problems, shame, self-compassion, engagement and motivation, was used. Welch t-tests, correlation and regression analyses were conducted to compare i) the levels of these variables, ii) relationships among these variables, and iii) predictors of mental health problems, between the two groups. Dutch workers had higher levels of mental health problems, work engagement and intrinsic motivation, and lower levels of shame and amotivation than Japanese workers. Mental health problems were associated with shame in both samples. Mental health problems were negatively predicted by self-compassion in Japanese, and by work engagement in Dutch employees. The novelty of this study relates to exploring differences in work mental health between those two culturally contrasting countries. Our findings highlight potential cultural differences such as survey responding (Japanese acquiescent responding vs Dutch self-enhancement) and cultural emphases (Japanese shame vs Dutch quality of life). Job crafting, mindfulness and enhancing ikigai (meaningfulness in life) may be helpful to protect mental health in these workers, relating to self-compassion and work engagement. Findings from this study would be particularly useful to employers, managers, and staff in human resources who work with cross-cultural workforce.
Cross-Cultural Comparison of Mental Health Shame: Negative Attitudes and External, Internal, and Reflected Shame About Mental Health in Japanese and UK WorkersAlthough often categorised by cultural differences (e.g., collectivism and individualism), Japan and the United Kingdom have several cultural commonalities. One of them is that both countries are known to have a ‘shame culture’; people in these countries often recognise shame in their lives relating to their cultural virtues. While shame can lead to social conformity, this negative affect associated with a sense of inadequacy can also damage our wellbeing. Because of the rapid advancement of technologies in these economically developed countries in the 4IR, workers are put under greater pressure, which is associated with more mental health problems. Their challenged mental health is further exacerbated by strong shame associated with mental health problems. Accordingly, we examined mental health shame in UK and Japanese workers. Four hundred workers (131 Japanese and 269 UK workers) completed measures of mental health and mental health shame, specifically negative attitudes, external, internal, and reflected shame. The results showed that Japanese workers had higher levels of mental health problems and shame than UK workers. In both countries, mental health and shame were overall associated with each other, apart from some family-related variables in Japanese workers. Family reflected shame was a significant predictor in Japanese workers, while self reflected shame was a significant predictor in UK workers. We discuss the implications of these findings with particular reference on how to reduce mental health shame in Japanese and UK workplaces and the provision of solutions for better work mental wellbeing, relating to the advantages of technologies. Because shame often involves perception of others, online interventions may be useful as they can be undertaken by each worker at a private place (instead of their office). Such individualised interventions enabled by the technologies of the 4IR may help to address shame-associated mental health problems in modern workplaces.
NLP for Japanese workers' mental well-being: pilot study.Although numerous national and organisational level approaches have taken to improve their mental health, Japanese workers still suffer from high rates of mental health problems. Despite its worldwide application, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has not been evaluated for these problems in-depth. The purpose of this pilot study is to examine the effects of NLP training for mental health among Japanese workers. A pre-post test design with repeated measurements was used with 30 Japanese workers, who were undertaking NLP Practitioner Certification training. The effects on mental health were assessed with the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) and the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) at pre-training, post-training, and a three-month follow-up. The mean scores of depression and stress decreased significantly, and mental well-being increased significantly between pre-training and post-training and between pre-training and follow-up. There was no significant difference between post-training and the follow-up for any of the measures. The results suggest this training was effective for mental health of Japanese workers, and the positive effects on mental well-being were sustained. This is the first ever study to empirically evaluate the effects of the regulated NLP training on the mental health of Japanese workers, conducted by researchers well-versed in NLP. This training might be conducive to improving the mental health of the Japanese workforce. Larger scale and/or controlled studies are needed.
Self-criticism and self-reassurance as mediators between mental health attitudes and symptoms: Attitudes towards mental health problems in Japanese workers.Japanese workers suffer high rates of mental health symptoms, recognised recently by the Japanese government, which has enacted workplace well-being initiatives. One reason for poor mental health concerns negative attitudes about mental health problems such as shame, which may be mediated by self-reassurance and self-criticism. This study aimed to evaluate shame-based attitudes towards mental health problems, and explore the relationship between mental health attitudes, self-criticism, self-reassurance and mental health symptoms. Japanese workers (n=131) completed three measures; attitudes towards mental health problems, mental health symptoms, and self-criticism/reassurance. A high proportion of workers reported negative attitudes about mental health problems. There were strong relationships between mental health attitudes, mental health symptoms, self-criticism, and self-reassurance. Path analyses revealed that the total and indirect effects (through self-criticism and self- reassurance) of mental health attitudes on mental health were larger than the direct effect alone. Hated-self and family-reflected shame were identified as predictors for mental health symptoms. The findings suggest the importance of self-criticism and self-reassurance in mental health and mental health attitudes. Implications for help-seeking behaviours are also discussed. Interventions aimed at reducing self-criticism and enhancing self-reassurance are recommended to improve mental health attitudes and increase help-seeking in Japanese workers.