Organisational justice and mental health: a systematic review of prospective studies

Occup Environ Med. 2012 Oct;69(10):694-700. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2011-100595. Epub 2012 Jun 12.


The models most commonly used, to study the effects of psychosocial work factors on workers' health, are the demand-control-support (DCS) model and Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) model. An emerging body of research has identified Organisational Justice as another model that can help to explain deleterious health effects. This review aimed: (1) to identify prospective studies of the associations between organisational justice and mental health in industrialised countries from 1990 to 2010; (2) to evaluate the extent to which organisational justice has an effect on mental health independently of the DCS and ERI models; and (3) to discuss theoretical and empirical overlap and differences with previous models. The studies had to present associations between organisational justice and a mental health outcome, be prospective, and be entirely available in English or in French. Duplicated papers were excluded. Eleven prospective studies were selected for this review. They provide evidence that procedural justice and relational justice are associated with mental health. These associations remained significant even after controlling for the DCS and ERI models. There is a lack of prospective studies on distributive and informational justice. In conclusion, procedural and relational justice can be considered a different and complementary model to the DCS and ERI models. Future studies should evaluate the effect of change in exposure to organisational justice on employees' mental health over time.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Developed Countries
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mental Health*
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Social Justice / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological