Health-related behaviours and mental health in Hong Kong employees

Shimin Zhu, S. Tse, F. Goodyear-Smith, W. Yuen, P. W. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background Poor physical and mental health in employees can result in a serious loss of productivity. Early detection and management of unhealthy behaviours and mental health symptoms can prevent productivity loss and foster healthy workplaces. Aims To examine health-related behaviours, mental health status and help-seeking patterns in employees, across different industries in Hong Kong. Methods Participants were telephone-interviewed and assessed using the Case-finding and Help Assessment Tool (CHAT) with employee lifestyle risk factors, mental health issues and help-seeking intentions screened across eight industries. Subsequent data analysis involved descriptive statistics and chisquare tests. Results There were 1031 participants. Key stressors were work (30%), family (19%), money (14%) and interpersonal issues (5%). Approximately 18, 9 and 9% of participants were smokers, drinkers and gamblers, respectively, and only 51% exercised regularly. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were reported by 24 and 31% of employees, respectively. Issues for which they wanted immediate help were interpersonal abuse (16%), anxiety (15%), anger control (14%) and depression (14%). Employees with higher educational attainment were less likely to smoke, drink and gamble than those with lower attainment. Lifestyle and mental health status were not associated with income. Employees in construction and hotel industries smoked more and those in manufacturing drank more than those in other industries. Conclusions Physical and mental health of Hong Kong employees are concerning. Although employee assistance programmes are common among large companies, initiation of proactive engagement approaches, reaching out to those employees in need and unlikely to seek help for mental health issues, may be useful.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Health promotion
  • Lifestyle
  • Mental health
  • Risk reduction
  • Substance disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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