Blog | Monday, June 16, 2008

Overtime linked to anxiety and depression

Employees who work overtime are at increased risk of anxiety and depression, suggests a study conducted by researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway. They used a questionnaire to test for symptoms of anxiety and depression among 1,350 workers who worked 41 to 100 hours per week, compared to about 9,000 workers who worked 40 hours or less.

Men and women suffered equally when it came to longer hours. "Possible" depression increased from about 9% for men with normal work hours to 12.5% for those who worked overtime. For women, possible depression increased from 7% to 11%. Men working more than 48 hours per week are at highest risk, although the authors noted that working even moderate overtime seems to increase the risk of "mental distress."

The relationship between overtime and anxiety/depression was strongest among men who worked the most overtime--from 49 to a whopping 100 hours per week. There was no word on when these workers found the time to respond to a survey, let alone seek treatment.