Occupational health and wellness: Current status and future directions

Robert J. Gatchel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This Handbook has provided a comprehensive overview of the growing clinical research evidence related to the emerging transdisciplinary field of occupational health and wellness. This ever- expanding field has become especially more important today because of the growing costs, including socioeconomic as well as those associated with human suffering. In today's World of international business and finance, these costs are becoming even more signi ficant because of the intertwining of world-wide economies. Indeed, a "hiccup" in one country will drastically affect others, as attested by recent economic "meltdowns" in various countries throughout the World. What makes these "meltdowns" even more troubling is the fact that there are so many disparities across countries in terms of economic and occupational variables, such as, working conditions and human rights, workers' compensation bene fits, mental and physical health disorder rates, socialized vs. privatized health-care costs, retirement ages and related pension costs, etc. Thus, one major issue that needs to be addressed is whether there is any way that these variables can be standardized across countries in order to produce a "level playing field?" This has been tried by some countries, such as the establishment of the European Union (EU), but there are now also "cracks" occurring in the EU because of wide economic disparities that are emerging among the participating nations. Of course, solutions to such issues are beyond the scope of the current Handbook. We have addressed only those issues that we may be able to control/modify in the present zeitgeist. Of course, we must also introduce a word of caution concerning the material presented in this Handbook. A vast majority of it emanated from works translated into English and conducted in North America, Western Europe, and certain Nordic countries (e.g., Scandinavia and Finland). Thus, it would be unforgivable hubris to assume that such findings/suggestions would automatically generalize to all countries, especially the emerging industrial nations of the East and Paci fic Rim. Actually, an important area of future research is to evaluate the generalizability of such issues and topics to these emerging industrial countries such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, and India.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Occupational Health and Wellness
PublisherSpringer US
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781461448396
ISBN (Print)9781461448389
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


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