Emotional Regulation for Content Moderators

key concerns in workplace. However, extant studies suffer from incomplete results due to their focus on developed economies’ contexts and the unclear path of employee mental health’s impact on performance. In this paper, we investigate the mechanism of employee mental health influencing job performance. We use the data of Chinese firms to test these hypotheses. Drawing on a sample of 239 firms from China, we find that employee mental health positively impacts job performance, and such relationship is mediated by innovative behavior and work engagement. The findings not only enrich the discipline’s knowledge on mental health in an emerging economy setting but also extend the implications of mental health, innovative behavior, and work engagement to job performance.

1. Introduction

Employee mental health has long been a topic of concern for researchers and practitioners alike [1]. One reason for this interest is that employee mental health is increasingly prominent within workplaces, which leads to significant costs including absenteeism, burnout, employee compensation claims, work–family conflict and low productivity [2,3]. In particular, with the outbreak of COVID-19, the uncertainties and fears associated with the virus outbreak, along with survival crisis of enterprises, lead to increases in employees’ mental disorders [4,5,6]. For example, Xiong et al. [7] found that people in China, Spain, Italy and five other countries had higher levels of symptoms of anxiety, depression, traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bufquin et al. [8] showed that since the outbreak, employees in the restaurant industry experienced higher levels of psychological distress and drug and alcohol use than furloughed employees. In this regard, it is timely to examine the influence of the mental health of employees on outcomes.


Recent studies have shown the relationship between employee mental health and different organizational outcomes, including employee emotional expression, job satisfaction, daily work behavior, job performance and firm performance [6,9,10,11,12]. Among these, the relationship between employee mental health and job performance has been an important research topic and has received more and more attention. Scholars suggested that employees with good mental health will show a positive working state and devote themselves to work tasks with more enthusiasm [13], whereas poor mental health may lead to inactivity at work and degradations in interpersonal relationships, which, in turn, negatively impacts employees’ work performance [14,15,16,17].


Although the relationship between mental health and job performance has been well-documented, there still remain some insufficiencies in the previous research. As a result, our extant knowledge on how employee mental health shapes job performance has remained fragmented and limited. First, the path of how employee mental health affects job performance is still unclear. The psychological characteristic–behavior–outcome framework indicates that although a strong individual attribute is important for an outcome, it does not automatically yield that outcome; instead, it influences outcome via appropriate behaviors. Second, such studies have been primarily conducted in Western economic contexts, whereas examinations in Eastern cultures such as China are lacking, which impedes upon the field’s global relevance. Studies have shown that culture, such as individualism and collectivism, will affect individuals’ mental health [18,19]. Therefore, the impact of mental health on performance may be different under different cultural backgrounds.