Working Long Hours Predisposes Women to Depression – Study Finds

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For women who experience depression more often than not, the remedy to the malady may not be farfetched, as a new study has revealed the culprit, which is working for 55 hours and more every week.

The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that working excessively long days could be detrimental to mental health, as it was found to affect more women than men.

A career woman suffering from depression.

The researchers analysed data collated by the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), as it tracks the health information of about 40,000 families in the U.K. Working on data collected from 23,000 men and women, including employment information, they found that majority of people with worst mental health were women, who worked 55 hours or more per week, and even worked most or every weekend. In fact, difference in statistics was significant when compared with women who worked normal hours (35–40 per week).

Although the researchers discovered some gender differences at work, as they found that men are generally inclined to work longer hours than their female counterparts, but almost half of the female population worked part-time.

Still analysing mental health and work habits, it was found that married men were more likely to work longer hours, while married women usually worked fewer.

They also tried to describe the types of jobs that easily lead to depression, and the study authors write, “Such jobs, when combined with frequent or complex interactions with the public or clients, have been linked to higher levels of depression.”

They recognize that women often have a “potential double burden” when factoring in household duties and caring for family members. This type of work is unpaid and increases their workload across the board.

The study, reported on Medical News Today noted that “ there were a few factors that seemed to affect mental health no matter what the person’s gender was. Older workers, workers who smoke, those who earned the least, and those who had the least control at their jobs tended to be more depressed when compared with other workers who did not have these specific circumstances.

“Clinical depression is one of the most common mental health conditions. It has several risk factors, which can include a family history of depression, major life changes, trauma, stress, and certain physical illnesses. The symptoms of depression may include persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness and guilt, loss of interest in hobbies, and sleeping issues”.

The Takeaway from this study is that working women or career women should find means of reducing their work loads, and work for lesser hours to prevent depression and other mental health challenges.

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