Long work hours, weekend working and depressive symptoms in men and women: findings from a UK population-based study

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Authors

Gillian Weston, Afshin Zilanawala, Elizabeth Webb, Livia A. Carvalho and Anne McMunn

Publication date

Summary

Background: Globalised and 24/7 business operations have fuelled demands for people to work long hours and weekends. Research on the mental health effects of these intensive temporal work patterns is sparse, contradictory or has not considered gender differences. Our objective was to examine the relationship between these work patterns and depressive symptoms in a large nationally representative sample of working men and women in the UK.
Method: The current study analysed data from Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, of 11 215 men and 12 188 women in employment or self-employment at the time of the study. Ordinary least squares regression models, adjusted for potential confounders and psychosocial work factors, were used to estimate depressive symptoms across categories of work hours and weekend work patterns.
Results: Relative to a standard 35–40 hours/week, working 55 hours/week or more related to more depressive symptoms among women (ß=0.75, 95% CI 0.12 to 1.39), but not for men (ß=0.24, 95% CI −0.10 to 0.58). Compared with not working weekends, working most or all weekends related to more depressive symptoms for both men (ß=0.34, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.61) and women (ß=0.50, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.79); however, working some weekends only related to more depressive symptoms for men (ß=0.33, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.55), not women (ß=0.17, 95% CI −0.09 to 0.42).
Conclusion: Increased depressive symptoms were independently linked to working extra-long hours for women, whereas increased depressive symptoms were associated with working weekends for both genders, suggesting these work patterns may contribute to worse mental health.

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2018-211309

ISSN

16

Subjects

Psychology, Labour Market, Well Being and Health

Notes

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