Work-Related Depression Widespread Problem

Photo: Depressive woman

Stressful working may provoke
depression; © SXC

According to the study, more working women than men experience job stress, and job stress is more likely in lower skilled occupations. ‘Job stress‘ is defined as a combination of high job demands and low control over how the job gets done. Job stress exposure patterns were then combined with previous research showing that job stress doubles the risk of depression to estimate the proportion of depression caused by job stress among working people.

Nearly one in five (17 per cent) working women suffering depression can attribute their condition to job stress and more than one in eight (13 per cent) working men with depression have problems due to job stress. However, 30-times fewer workers receive workers’ compensation for stress-related mental disorders. This suggests that workers’ compensation statistics grossly under-represent the true extent of the problem.

“This represents a substantial and inequitably distributed public health problem,” Associate Professor Tony LaMontagne, Centre for the Promotion of Mental Health and Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne, said. But he also sees solutions: “The evidence shows that improving job control, moderating demands, and providing more support from supervisors and co-workers makes a difference.“

With strategies to reduce stress and programs that address nutrition, physical inactivity and smoking, workplaces could also help to prevent illnesses. „Our hope is that a better understanding of the scale of this problem will lead to more support for employees, particularly for lower-skilled workers and working women,” LaMontagne explained.; Source: University of Melbourne