Routinely working long hours is associated with a greater risk of depression, studies show.
Routinely putting in extra hours at the office can put a strain on your social life. But can too much overtime cause depression? Scientists put the question to the test in a study of more than 2,000 white-collar workers. Previous research hinted at a link between long hours and depressed mood, and the researchers, at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, wanted to examine the issue in depth.
For about five years, they collected data on British civil servants. All of the workers, whose average age at the start was 47, had no mental health problems at the outset. And the researchers adjusted their results to rule out other risk factors, like socioeconomic status, social support, gender and substance use.
Advertisement: Story continues below Ultimately, the men and women who routinely worked 11 hours a day or more had more than double the risk of developing depression compared with those who usually worked eight hours or less.
The study was published last month in the journal PLoS One.
While the results are not conclusive, another recent study, in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, had similar findings. Looking at 10,000 workers, the researchers found higher levels of anxiety and depression in those who put in the most overtime. Read More…