Agency, 10 March : If you’re regularly putting in long hours at work, you may be at higher risk for depression, especially if you’re a woman.
Given that today’s work environment allows for round-the-clock access to work, it’s no surprise that more and more people are clocking in longer hours. However, those long hours are now being connected to mental health concerns, particularly in women.
An observational study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health reports that women who worked 55 hours or more a week and/or who worked most/every weekend experienced significantly more depressive symptoms than women working standard hours.
“There’s something called ‘weisure’ that refers to people not having a work-life balance, where they work and grab moments of leisure when they can,” Deborah Serani, PsyD, professor of psychology at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, told. “We’ve seen this since the internet and cell phones and how they really negatively impact mental health because you don’t get to reboot, you don’t get to refuel.”
Researchers gathered their data from Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, which has been tracking the health and well-being of 40,000 households across the UK since 2009.
Their conclusions were based on employment data from 11,215 men and 12,188 women who responded to a general health questionnaire.
There was no difference in the number of depressive symptoms between men who worked fewer or more hours than the standard working week or who worked weekends. But weekend working was associated with significantly more depressive symptoms among men when work conditions were accounted for.
For women, depressive symptoms were associated with the number of weekends worked.
Researchers of the study point to the potential double burden experienced by women when their long hours in paid work are added to the time they put into domestic duties.
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