All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It can also make him depressed, claimed researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki in a study published online January 25 in Plos One.
In their prospective cohort study, the researchers evaluated baseline working hours, psychological morbidity (an indicator of baseline depression), and depression risk factors in a group of British civil servants (1,626 men, 497 women, mean age 47 years) participating in the Whitehall II study from 1991 to 1993. After a follow-up of major depressive episode in 1997 to 1999, the researchers found that the odds ratio for a subsequent major depressive episode was 2.43 times higher for those working 11+ hours a day compared to employees working 7 to 8 hours a day, even when adjusted for sociodemographic factors at baseline. Further adjustment for chronic physical disease, smoking, alcohol use, job strain, and work-related social support had little effect on this association. “Data from middle-aged civil servants suggest that working long hours of overtime may predispose to major depressive episodes,” concluded the researchers.
Recent work has also confirmed a genomic site for major depression. Read more about it in Psychiatric News by clicking here.