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Health Tip – Mar. 29 – On the Job Risk of Major Depression

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If you’re working lots of overtime, you could be at an increased risk of major depression. A new study from researchers in Finland and Great Britain found that individuals who work 11 or more hours per day have 2.43 times the risk of a major depressive episode as those who work the usual seven to eight hours.

The investigators compared health and work information from more than 2,000 British civil servants ages 35 to 55 and found that those who put in the longest hours were married men who had a high occupational grade. After 5.8 years of follow up, the researchers documented 66 cases of major depression, an annual rate of 3.1 percent. (No additional association with depression was found based on marital status, job strain, smoking or working only nine to 10 hours a day, even after the researchers accounted for occupational grade.)

In addition, the study showed that the association between working 11 hours or more per day and the risk of depression wasn’t statistically significant for individuals of higher economic status. However, in conjunction with long hours, being young, female (with a low occupational grade), suffering from chronic illness and moderate alcohol use were factors that the researchers identified as contributors to the association with major depression.

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