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Background Mental disorders in the workplace are a major public health problem. Knowledge of the impact of the psychosocial work environment on mental and behavioral disorders can assist occupational physicians in the identification and description of occupational risk situations, and help to define priority actions. However, no classification for occupational exposure factors is currently available. We aimed to build a thesaurus of “Organizational, Relational, Ethical and other Contributing Factors” (FOREC) linked with the onset of mental and behavioral disorders. Methods The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) initiated and supervised a multidisciplinary working group consisting of the representatives of the main French occupational and public health actors. All decisions were accepted on a consensus basis. This collaborative work led to the classification of occupational exposure factors for mental and behavioral disorders in the workplace. To test this thesaurus in clinical practice, a French multicenter study was implemented. Patients were workers referred to the Occupational Disease Centers for mental health issues at work. Factors contributing to mental and behavioral disorders among workers were identified and coded retrospectively from the worker’s point of view using the FOREC thesaurus. Results We recruited 323 workers, aged 44.9±9.2 years, of which 31.3% were men. The most commonly encountered disorders were generalized anxiety disorders (106 workers, 32.8%) and moderate depressive episodes (86 workers, 26.7%). We identified 1357 factors, i.e. an average of 4.2 factors per worker. Among them, 575 (42.4%) were relational and 515 (37.9%) were organizational. All factors identified during consultations were described in the thesaurus. Conclusions We built the first thesaurus of “Organizational, Relational, Ethical and other Contributing Factors” (FOREC) that may help to generate profiles of mental and behavioral disorders at work. Encoding and describing these exposure factors, as well as using a worldwide standardized and shared terminology, will help to identify specific workplace prevention programs.


School of Exercise Science

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Open Access Journal Article

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.