Study of the Day: Working Overtime May Double Risk of Depression

More

Workaholics, take it easy. New research from the University of College London suggests long hours may lead to major depressive episodes.

main Kuzma shutterstock_68836912.jpg

PROBLEM: Though we know mental disorders often lead to substantial work impairment and absenteeism, the reverse is more complicated: It's still unclear if and how long work hours are tied to a person's risk of major depression.

METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by epidemiologist Marianna Virtanen of the University College London asked 2,123 middle-aged British civil servants about their work habits and monitored them for an average of 5.8 years for indications of major depression. In their analysis, they accounted for various possible confounders, including socio-demographics, lifestyle, and work-related factors.

RESULTS: The scientists found a robust correlation between overtime work hours and major depressive episodes. More precisely, participants who worked 11 or more hours a day were twice as likely to be depressed compared to those who limited their time at work to seven or eight hours a day.

CONCLUSION: Excessive work hours are associated with an increased risk of major depression.

SOURCE: The full study, "Overtime Work as a Predictor of Major Depressive Episode: A 5-Year Follow-Up of the Whitehall II Study," is published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Image: Kuzma/Shutterstock.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Hans Villarica writes for and produces The Atlantic's Health channel. His work has appeared in TIME, People Asia, and Fast Company.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In