Anxiety and Depression Linked to Overtime Work

Monday, October 27, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: anxiety, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) People who work overtime are more likely to be anxious and depressed - and the more they work, the higher the risk, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Bergen, Norway, and published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The researchers assessed anxiety and depression by means of a standardized questionnaire in 10,350 Norwegian women and men who were taking part in a larger study. Nine thousand of the participants were working 40 hours a week or less, while 1,350 were working between 41 and 100 hours per week.

Among those who worked 40 hours a week or fewer, women averaged a 7 percent "possible" depression score, while men averaged 9 percent. In overtime workers, however, this percentage went up to 11 percent in women and 12.5 percent in men. Those who worked between 49 and 100 hours per week were the most likely to experience anxiety and depression.

The researchers also found that those with lower incomes and those working in less skilled positions tended to be more anxious and depressed. At the same time, those working the most overtime also tended to have a lower level of education and to be in less-skilled positions involving manual labor or shift work. As such, the researchers were unable to tell to what extent the overtime actually causes the anxiety and depression, to what extent it is associated with another cause (such as low-income physical labor), or to what extent anxiety and depression are influenced by a more complex interaction of several of these factors.

Prior research has shown that those who work overtime are more likely to be stressed and fatigued, and also to become sick or injured. Based in part on such studies, the European Union allows workers to refuse to work more than 48 hours per week.

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