Neuro magnifico! An exploratory study critically reviewing news text reporting of anxiety-related work performance strengths, challenges and support measures

Work. 2019;63(3):435-446. doi: 10.3233/WOR-192950.

Abstract

Background: Progressive workplaces should be aware of emerging neurodiversity related issues. People are sharing their narratives of high functioning anxiety in a variety of forums. Despite news text reporting upon this phenomenon, the concept has managed to escape a research spotlight.

Objective: To critically investigate the evidence base of news article reporting of anxiety-related work performance strengths, challenges and support measures.

Methods: Thematic analysis was applied to news texts derived from CrossSearch database and internet enquiries and journal articles obtained from Scopus, Medline and Science Direct databases.

Results: The analysis of eight news texts and 36 journal articles produced evidence-based themes including those of work performance strengths (quality, quantity, creativity) challenges (overreaching, perfectionism, overthinking, communication) and support measures (medical, cognitive, physical, flexibility).

Conclusion: This investigative review reveals that anxiety-related work performance strengths, challenges and support measures as identified within news text reporting of the high functioning anxiety concept have at least some basis in the literature. It might therefore be the case that organizations who invest in supporting employees who identify with high functioning dimensions of their anxiety disorders are the ones who are ultimately rewarded with work performance advantages.

Keywords: Neurodiversity; anxiety disorders; high functioning anxiety; thematic analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / complications*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Humans
  • Mass Media / standards*
  • Mass Media / statistics & numerical data
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Work Performance / standards*
  • Work Performance / trends