The Impact of Mental Health Therapy on Job Creation and Business Performance of Female Entrepreneurs

Last registered on June 23, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

The Impact of Mental Health Therapy on Job Creation and Business Performance of Female Entrepreneurs
Initial registration date
June 19, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
June 23, 2023, 5:00 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information

Primary Investigator

Lagos Business School

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Duke University
PI Affiliation
Lagos Business School

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Several studies show that poor mental health is related to negative labor outcomes. Although there is also a long history of research that focuses on employees' mental health and well-being there is little or no research on the mental health of employers. There are three reasons why this is relevant. First, the cognitive complexity and responsibility inherent in owner-manager roles might be sufficient to tax the mental well-being of the employer. Second, a characteristic of owner-manager jobs is social isolation and loneliness which is antithetical to mental health. Third, many employers carry the burden of employees' negative emotions (such as sadness, anger) and behaviors (e.g., aggression, undermining). Given the importance of an employer’s mental health to themselves, their employees, and the organization, it is vital to explore the impact of mental health therapy on owner-managers of small and medium-scale enterprises who face more business constraints in developing countries. Using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design, this study will evaluate impact of a mental health therapy on job creation (i.e., number of employees) and business performance outcome (such as sales and profits) of female-led Nigerian firms. The project will recruit female business owners and randomly assign them to receive therapy sessions through virtual reality, through peer-led groups, or to a no-therapy control group. The findings of this study will show the effect of a psychological-based approach on women’s mental health and business outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Lansford, Jennifer, Arinze Nwokolo and Eugene Ohu. 2023. "The Impact of Mental Health Therapy on Job Creation and Business Performance of Female Entrepreneurs." AEA RCT Registry. June 23.
Experimental Details


a. The randomization will be stratified by baseline mental health.
b. The intervention will include exposing the treatment group to mental health therapy (MHT) sessions. Half of the women in the treatment group will be randomized to a Virtual Reality MHT session and half to a peer led MHT session.
c. Treatment heterogeneity will be examined with respect to women with high mental depression symptoms and women with low mental depression symptoms.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Standardized business index (which will be the standardized mean effect of outcomes such as number of employees, amount of sales and profit).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
a. First stage outcomes: mental health index
b. Second stage outcomes: a belief index (which will capture altruism and optimistic beliefs about oneself and others).
c. Self-control index
d. Prosocial behavior index
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
A randomized control trial (RCT) will be used to estimate the causal impact of the program. 500 eligible female entrepreneurs will be randomized into two treatment arms and a control group after recruitment. The two experimental groups include:
a. Virtual reality mental health therapy group (which will receive the therapy through virtual reality)
b. Peer led mental health therapy (which will receive the therapy through peers)
c. Control group (which will not receive any intervention or receive a placebo)
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization will be by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Unit of randomization is individual. The randomization will be within strata, e.g., on baseline mental health.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
There are no clusters.
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 female entrepreneurs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
125 female entrepreneurs in each of two treatment arms, and 250 female entrepreneurs in the control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Minimum detectable size effect for main outcome: 9 percentage points.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Lagos Business School
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number