Thursday, 02 Aug, 2007 Health & Fitness

Stressed at Work - Mentally Ill by 32


According to a new study, stress at work place is making people of all professions, including doctors and electricians, mentally ill. The study showed that 10 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women who often find themselves in stressful situations at work, suffer depression or anxiety when they reach the age of 32.

To come to such the conclusion, the Otago University has focused attention upon nearly 900 people who were born in the period of 1972-73. At the age of 32 they were asked about their physical and psychological job demands, how well they could keep control when making decisions and operation of any social support structures at their work place.

The long-term Dunedin study showed that women who were subjected to high levels of psychological job demands, including long working hours, working under pressure or receiving unclear directions, were 75 per cent more likely to finish up with general anxiety disorder or clinical depression than those women who were subjected to the lowest levels of the same work stress factors. As for the men with high levels of the above-mentioned work stress factors, they turned out to be 80 per cent more likely to get depressed or anxious than those who had the lowest levels.

According to another independent research, 16 per cent of people in New Zealand suffer major depression and 6 per cent suffer general anxiety at some life point.

Professor Richie Poulton who directed the Dunedin study, also mentioned that the previous research had led the researchers to the thought about a direct connection between work stress and mental disorders. However, the latest study proved this connection independently from other factors that make people suffer depression and anxiety, such as people's social status and features of personality.

In fact, the study did not discover any differences between professions. High psychological demands that are relevant to multiple professions turned out to be the major factor. The researches decided to conduct the latest study, having collaborated with King's College in London, as the rates of depression and anxiety disorders as well as stress levels at work had dramatically increased.

Having received such alarming results, the researchers urge employers to minimize stress for workers. The most successful strategy to minimize workplace stress is to establish close communication between employers and their workers. To keep people away from stress at work place, considerate employers must do their best to minimize confusion and make sure people have clear understanding about what they have to do.

Consider the following facts:

  • 45 per cent of cases of recently diagnosed people who suffer depression or general anxiety had direct connection to workplace stress.
  • 12 per cent of employees who were subjected to stress at work place and had showed no signs of mental health problems were reported to suffer depression or anxiety by the age of 32.
  • People who experienced high levels of psychological demands at work place were 75-80 per cent more likely to finish up with depression or anxiety than those who had the lowest levels
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