Mental Well-being During an Entrepreneur’s Career

An individual’s mental well-being refers to the individual’s psychological state in terms of cognitive thoughts and affective feeling about life. It is strongly connected to work motivation, commitment, and capacity. Mental well-being is particularly critical for entrepreneurs, who often need to rely on their own cognitive evaluations, affective responses, and behavioral actions to pursue successful ventures. Entrepreneurs’ mental well-being is a new and exciting field in the entrepreneurship literature. As expected in new fields, most studies have focused on cross-sectional or qualitative case studies. We still lack rigorous longitudinal studies focusing on the development of individuals’ mental well-being along entrepreneurship career paths, including entry, process, and outcomes. Therefore, we still do not have a clear understanding of how an entrepreneurial career is influenced by and influences entrepreneurs’ mental well-being.

This research project aims to assess the development of an individual’s mental well-being along the entrepreneurial process. Specifically, this project will utilize longitudinal data to empirically examine the following research questions:

  1. What is the influence of an individual’s choice of an entrepreneurial career on his/her own mental well-being?
  2. What is the effect of an individual’s mental well-being on his/her own entrepreneurial outcome in terms of income?
  3. What does an entrepreneur need to improve his/her own mental well-being during the entrepreneurial process?

We answer these research questions utilizing theories of job control and demand, self-determination, and cognitive behavior therapy. Empirically, we will answer these questions through two datasets: a) an existing archival longitudinal dataset built from the German population from 2002 to 2017 and b) a complementary longitudinal field experiment of entrepreneurs in Switzerland to explore the effect of psychological support on improving entrepreneurs’ mental well-being.

This research aims to contribute to our understanding of the dynamic relation between entrepreneurs’ mental well-being and new ventures, providing both theoretical and practical implications to effectively manage the entrepreneurial process.

Related Work

Rauch, A., Fink, M., & Hatak, I. (2018) Stress processes: An essential ingredient in the entrepreneurial process Academy of Management Perspectives, 32(3) 340–357.

Kowatsch, T., Volland, D., Shih, I., Rüegger, D., Künzler, F., Barata, F., Filler, A., Büchter, D., Brogle, B., Heldt, K., Gindrat, P., Farpour-Lambert, N., l’Allemand, D. (2017) Design and Evaluation of a Mobile Chat App for the Open Source Behavioral Health Intervention Platform MobileCoach, In: Maedche A., vom Brocke J., Hevner A. (eds) Designing the Digital Transformation. DESRIST 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10243. Springer: Berlin; Germany, 485-489. (Paper-PDF | Poster-PDF | Slide-PDF | Screencast)

Wahle, F., L. Bollhalder, T. Kowatsch and E. Fleisch (2017) Toward the Design of Evidence-Based Mental Health Information Systems for People With Depression: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research 19 (5), e191. (PDF)

Wahle, F., T. Kowatsch, E. Fleisch, M. Rufer and S. Weidt (2016) Mobile Sensing and Support for People with Depression: A Pilot Trial in the Wild JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 4 (3), e111. (PDF)

Filler, A., Kowatsch, T., Haug, S., Wahle, F., Staake, T. & Fleisch, E. (2015) MobileCoach: A Novel Open Source Platform for the Design of Evidence-based, Scalable and Low-Cost Behavioral Health Interventions – Overview and Preliminary Evaluation in the Public Health Context. Wireless Telecommunications Symposium 2015 (WTS 2015), New York, USA. ***Outstanding Paper Award & Best Graduate Student Paper Award*** PDF

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CDHI Research Team

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch


May 2019 – April 2022


Dr. Josh Wei-Jun Hsueh (University of St.Gallen) & Prof. Dr. Vangelis Souitaris (University of St.Gallen & City University of London)