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Long working hours and depressive symptoms
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Long working hours and depressive symptoms

systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data

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Objectives This systematic review and meta-analysis combined published study-level data and unpublished individual-participant data with the aim of quantifying the relation between long working hours and the onset of depressive symptoms. Methods We searched PubMed and Embase for published prospective cohort studies and included available cohorts with unpublished individual-participant data. We used a random-effects meta-analysis to calculate summary estimates across studies. Results We identified ten published cohort studies and included unpublished individual-participant data from 18 studies. In the majority of cohorts, long working hours was defined as working ≥55 hours per week. In multivariable-adjusted meta-analyses of 189 729 participants from 35 countries [96 275 men, 93 454 women, follow-up ranging from 1-5 years, 21 747 new-onset cases), there was an overall association of 1.14 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03-1.25] between long working hours and the onset of depressive symptoms, with significant evidence of heterogeneity (I 2=45.1%, P=0.004). A moderate association between working hours and depressive symptoms was found in Asian countries (1.50, 95% CI 1.13-2.01), a weaker association in Europe (1.11, 95% CI 1.00-1.22), and no association in North America (0.97, 95% CI 0.70-1.34) or Australia (0.95, 95% CI 0.70-1.29). Differences by other characteristics were small. Conclusions This observational evidence suggests a moderate association between long working hours and onset of depressive symptoms in Asia and a small association in Europe.

Virtanen, M., Jokela, M., Madsen, I. E., Magnusson Hanson, L. L., Lallukka, T., Nyberg, S. T., ... Kivimäki, M. (2018). Long working hours and depressive symptoms: systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and unpublished individual participant data. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 44(3), 239-250. DOI: 10.5271/sjweh.3712
Author(s) Marianna Virtanen
Markus Jokela
Ida Eh Madsen
Linda L Magnusson Hanson
Tea Lallukka
Solja T Nyberg
Lars Alfredsson
G David Batty
Jakob B Bjorner
Marianne Borritz
Hermann Burr
Nico Dragano
Raimund Erbel
Jane E Ferrie
Katriina Heikkilä
Anders Knutsson
Markku Koskenvuo
Eero Lahelma
Martin L Nielsen
Tuula Oksanen
Jan H Pejtersen, SFI
Jaana Pentti
Ossi Rahkonen
Reiner Rugulies
Paula Salo
Jürgen Schupp
Martin J Shipley
Johannes Siegrist
Archana Singh-Manoux
Sakari B Suominen
Töres Theorell
Jussi Vahtera
Gert G Wagner
Jian Li Wang
Vasoontara Yiengprugsawan
Hugo Westerlund
Mika Kivimäki
Publication date 20.05.2018
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Language English
Nr. of pages 12
keywords Sickness absence

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