Middle managers' attitudes toward employee assistance programs in the corporate setting

Calvin William Paries, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Several studies have shown that successful Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have strong management endorsement. Strong management endorsement is defined as positive support in utilizing EAP services for themselves and their employees. This study focuses solely on middle management as opposed to upper or general management support. The study further examines success or lack of success of an EAP by the utilization rate defined as the number of employees over a year period who access EAP services. A analytical cross-sectional design was used to compare and observe differences between two groups of middle managers (utilizers and nonutilizers). Middle manager data was collected through a mail questionnaire. The study focused on identifying predictors that influence middle managers' utilization rate specifically: attitude toward EAPs, EAP knowledge level, attitude toward mental health professionals, age, gender, years worked as a middle manager, education level, training, and other possible predictors of utilization. The overall hypothesis states middle manager utilizers of EAP services have more positive attitudes and a better understanding of their EAP than middle management nonutilizers. As predicted, nonparametric bivariate results showed significant differences between the two groups. Middle managers in the utilization group (n = 473) tended to show more positive attitudes toward their EAP and mental health professionals and demonstrated greater EAP knowledge compared to the nonutilization group (n = 154). These findings support past studies on variables that influence EAP utilization rates. Further variables found to influence middle management utilization were identified by multivariate logistic regression results. These variable were gender (female supervisors), educational levels of employees supervised (employees with lower levels of education), number of employees supervised (greater the number supervised, more likely to utilize), managerial EAP training (trained supervisors) and awareness that problems do influence an employee's productivity. These findings strengthen the assertion that middle management's attitudes, as well as other variables may influence utilization. Study findings add new information about important variables specifically influencing middle management who utilize EAPs. An understanding of these variables is essential in developing competent EAP program training and orientation programs for middle managers.

Subject Area

Occupational safety|Occupational psychology|Public health|Management

Recommended Citation

Paries, Calvin William, "Middle managers' attitudes toward employee assistance programs in the corporate setting" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9700048.