16 October 2007

Depressing jobs

What would you least like to do? Changing nappies, caring for the elderly and serving food are three jobs that cause the most work-related depression.

People who look after the elderly, people who change nappies, and people who serve food and drink have the highest rates of depression, according to a US study.

US government officials tracked depression within 21 major occupational categories. They combined data from 2004 to 2006 to estimate episodes of depression within the past year. That information came from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which registers lifetime and past-year depression bouts.

Here are some other interesting facts that came out of the report:

  • Overall, 7% of full-time workers battled depression in the past year.

  • Women were more likely than men to have had a major bout of depression, and younger workers had higher rates of depression than their older colleagues.

  • Almost 11% of personal care workers - which include child care and helping the elderly and severely disabled with their daily needs - reported depression lasting two weeks or longer. During such episodes there is loss of interest and pleasure, and at least four other symptoms surface, including problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.

  • Workers who prepare and serve food - cooks, bartenders, waiters and waitresses - had the second highest rate of depression among full-time employees at 10.3%.

  • In a tie for third were health care workers and social workers at 9.6%.

  • The lowest rate of depression, 4.3%, occurred in the job category that covers engineers, architects and surveyors.

  • Women fare worse in the helping professions (community and social services) - 13.3% of them get depressed as opposed to 4.4% of the men in the field.

  • Very low on the list were people involved in maintenance, repair and installation. Their rate of depresssion was only 4.4%.

  • If stress isn't your thing, stay away from the medical professions (9.6%) and from the field of education and training (8.7%).

  • Farmers, fishermen and forestry workers registered a very low level of depression - a mere 5.6%.

Depression leads to $30 billion to $44 billion ($21 billion to $31 billion) in lost productivity annually, said the report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report was available Saturday on the agency's Web site.

Just working full-time would appear to be beneficial in preventing depression. The overall rate of depression for full-time workers (7%) compares with the 12.7% rate registered by those who are unemployed. – (Sapa-AP/Health24)

Read more:
Work pressure sparks blues
Depression Centre


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