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Long working hours are associated with incident depressive and anxiety symptoms in women

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Question

Question

Are long working hours associated with incident symptoms of depression and anxiety?

People

2960 full-time British office staff aged 35–55 years taking part in the Whitehall II study who were free from depressive symptoms (n=2549) and anxiety symptoms (n=2618) at baseline. Baseline measurements for the current analyses were taken between 1997 and 1999, and follow-up was in 2001 and between 2002 and 2004.

Setting

Twenty civil service departments, London, England; from 1997 to 2004.

Risk factors

Hours worked per week (35–40 h, 41–55 h, or >55 h). Covariates were assessed at baseline and included sex, age, marital status, occupational grade, alcohol consumption, smoking and presence of chronic disease. Employment status at follow-up was also adjusted for in the analysis.

Outcomes

Depressive symptoms (30-item General Health Questionnaire, GHQ), and anxiety symptoms (28-item GHQ).

Methods

Design

Cohort study.

Follow-up period

Up to 7 years (mean 5.3 years for depression symptoms, 5.2 years for anxiety symptoms).

Main results

At baseline, those working for more than 55 h per week tended to be men, married or cohabiting, in higher occupational grades, and were more likely to drink over the recommended …

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