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Working long hours makes more women depressed

Posted March 1, 2019

Overworking is not good for anyone. You should rest an appropriate time to retain a good health. However, many people work longer than they should. Scientists from UCL found that women who work more than 55 hours a week are at a higher risk of depression. Interestingly, the same effect was not observed in men.

More women than men suffer from depression and overworking affects them more. Image credit: Irais Esparza via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This study involved more than 20 thousand adults (11,215 working men and 12,188 working women). Researchers took into account a variety of extra factors, such as age, income, health and job characteristics and still determined that women who worked extra-long hours had 7.3% more depressive symptoms. These extra hours are usually accumulated during weekends.

Those women who worked all or almost all weekend had 4.6% more depressive symptoms on average compared to women working only weekdays. Meanwhile this factor for men was a bit lower – only around 3.4 %. This is quite interesting, but scientists say that this could have something to do with women working at lower paid jobs.

On average, men tended to work longer hours than women. Scientists calculate that two thirds of men work weekends compared to only half of the women. Once they had children, women stopped working longer hours on weekends and after a normal shift. However, this research showed that for men having children had a different effect – young fathers tend to work more than those men who don’t have children.

This could be because women spend more time with children while young fathers have to concentrate into providing for the family. Those men who work most weekends typically work in jobs requiring less skill. This means that these jobs are not typically perceived as socioeconomically valuable. And yet it is women who are more likely to develop depression from overworking.

Women are more likely to develop depression – they are just more vulnerable to this condition. This was representative in the study – results fall in line with already existing data. Gill Weston, lead author of the study, said: “We hope our findings will encourage employers and policy-makers to think about how to reduce the burdens and increase support for women who work long or irregular hours – without restricting their ability to work when they wish to”. Employers have to understand that happy and healthy workers are simply more productive.

Having a job that drives you is extremely important. In that scenario you simply don’t count hours anymore. But it is extremely rare to find that kind of position. That is why employers should pay more attention to the mental health of their workers and workers should avoid overworking themselves too much. Mental health is more important than money.


Source: UCL

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