Work gets unfair for the depressed: cross-lagged relations between organizational justice perceptions and depressive symptoms.J Appl Psychol. 2011 May; 96(3):602-18.JA
The organizational justice literature has consistently documented substantial correlations between organizational justice and employee depression. Existing theoretical literature suggests this relationship occurs because perceptions of organizational (in)justice lead to subsequent psychological health problems. Building on recent research on the affective nature of justice perceptions, in the present research we broaden this perspective by arguing there are also theoretical arguments for a reverse effect whereby psychological health problems influence perceptions of organizational justice. To contrast both theoretical perspectives, we test longitudinal lagged effects between organizational justice perceptions (i.e., distributive justice, interactional justice, interpersonal justice, informational justice, and procedural justice) and employee depressive symptoms using structural equation modeling. Analyses of 3 samples from different military contexts (N₁ = 625, N₂ = 134, N₃ = 550) revealed evidence of depressive symptoms leading to subsequent organizational justice perceptions. In contrast, the opposite effects of organizational justice perceptions on depressive symptoms were not significant for any of the justice dimensions. The findings have broad implications for theoretical perspectives on psychological health and organizational justice perceptions.