Individuals who work longer hours may be at risk for depression. A new study highlighted these findings in a recent health article, focusing on the rate of depression among workers in Britain. Despite the type of work, whether it’s stressful or not, nearly all overworked people saw some signs of depression.
The study focused on 2,123 workers in Britain. Over a six year period, those workers who spent more than 11 hours each day were nearly twice as likely to develop depression. Symptoms of depression continued regardless of other factors. Job strain, alcohol use, physical disease and workforce support levels didn’t waiver the effects.
An interesting factor of the study was the ranking of the worker. A majority of workers suffering from depression tended to be middle management or lower. Employees who were higher up on the food chain showed few to no signs of depression. Dr. Alan Geleberg, who is the psychiatry department chair at Pennsylvania State University, believes this could be the result of a more controlled work environment. Typically, higher levels of management in a company have control over their working hours. This would alleviate the long hours spent in the office, and therefore, eliminate the symptoms of depression.
Dr. Geleberg, who admits he is in one of these higher positions, said he gets to choose his agenda. If he works a longer day it is his own free will. But not everyone has that option. Longer work hours create stress at home by instigating relationship struggles and can even elevate cortisol levels, a stress hormone.
Other factors that could be playing roles in the depression could be job insecurity or even sleep deprivation. Research has proven that the lack of sleep can be a leading cause of depression related to work.