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Nancy Schimelpfening

Are You Working Too Many Hours?

By June 17, 2008

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If you work a lot of overtime you may be putting yourself at risk for anxiety and depression, suggests a study in the June Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

When Elisabeth Kleppa and colleagues of the University of Bergen, Norway, analyzed data on work hours, dividing Norwegian men and women into groups worked less than or more than 40 hours per week, they found that those who worked overtime scored higher on standard depression and anxiety screening questionnaires.

The strongest relationship between overtime hours and depression and anxiety existed among the men who worked the most overtime, with 49 to 100 hours per week. These same men often also worked heavy manual labor and shift work and had lower levels of education and work skills.

While no firm conclusions can be drawn from this study, it appears that those who work physically demanding jobs would be wise to practice good self-care and strike a balance between work and rest.

Comments
June 18, 2008 at 10:00 am
(1) wendy aron says:

I think a lot of the stress of working is caused by having a boss who doesn’t get you and by having to keep the fact that you suffer from depression to yourself, lest you be ostrasized or even fired. It’s okay for people in the workplace to know that you suffer form a physical illness, but there is still a stigma to having a mental illness. The need to keep silent can cause a lot of stress.

Wendy Aron
author of Hide & Seek: How I Laughed at Depression, Conquered My Fears and Found Happiness

June 18, 2008 at 11:12 am
(2) Helen says:

A close family member had an extremely serious bout of depression last year. She received excellent treatment which continues to this day. She worked at a high stress job in advertising through all her woes and continued to fulfil her duties with difficulty.She now has most of her old verve back and still works very hard. The problem at work is most people don’t understand depression (the boss was great) and now seem to shy away from her, excluding her from things she used to be the center of. She is hurt by that. Why don’t people have enough curiosity to research a little and find out what depression really means. She personally is a very empathic person and is so thoughtful or others…so it isn’t the work that gets her down, it’s the attitude of fellow workers.

June 18, 2008 at 12:01 pm
(3) Rich says:

Why are people working O.T. in the first place? Most do it out of necessity. If they were paid fairly in the first place, then they wouldn’t be working O.T.!

Many workers today are underpaid, under-appreciated, and looked upon as sub-human by many employers.

It’s the entire environment that is depressing, not necessarily O.T. although that adds to it.

I once had a job I loved and worked O.T. simply because I enjoyed the work so much! I wasn’t depressed back then. Now I am.

June 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm
(4) Bob says:

The common thread, which I hadn’t realized earlier than my occurrence, is that depression, and other forms of mental illness, is one which needs to be hidden due to misunderstanding and ostacization by society. I made the mistake of sharing my illness with a ‘close friend’ at work who then ‘shared’ this information with other co-workers. Although I’m sure intentions were of the highest good, the information begat ostracization and denial of opportunities for promotion at work. Of course, no one would admit that my illness and recovery were the reasons for losing promotions, the reasons kept getting more bizarre like ‘well, you weren’t wearing a tie.’ My job does not require a tie/jacket and none of the other applicants, most of which were women, were wearing ties.

The reasons and excuses begin to get tiring and the veil of truth becomes thinner and thinner which also can increase depression. The Airline industry in which I am employed is extremely stressful under normal circumstances and the additional pain of realizing the lack of understanding of mental illness and treatments thereof becomes quite wearing.

June 18, 2008 at 12:32 pm
(5) Bob says:

The last sentence of paragraph shoule read, ‘….were not wearing ties.’
Thanx!

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