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Poor Workplace Climate Linked to Depression

Study: Depression More Likely When Team Spirit Is Poor
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 9, 2009 -- Tension, backbiting, and poor team spirit at the workplace may increase the risk for depression, a new study says.

Researchers questioned a randomly selected sample of 3,347 Finnish workers aged 30-64 in 2000 and 2001.

Each person was asked to rate team climate in the workplace on a five-point scale, assigning a number to such statements as whether the atmosphere on the job was “nice and easy,” “prejudiced and conservative,” “encouraging and supportive of new ideas,” and “quarrelsome and disagreeing.”

The workers also were queried about their social lives, living arrangements, and access to health services.

Employees who felt that team spirit was poor were 61% more likely to have a depressive disorder than workers with a good team spirit, says the study, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. And, they were 53% more likely to have used antidepressants during the first few years after they were interviewed.

During the three years of follow-up, 9% of the participants had bought antidepressant medications.

The researchers found no correlation between the climate at work and alcohol use disorders. Findings took into account factors such as age, gender, marital status, history of mental health disorders, job demands, and tenure.

“More attention should be paid to psychological factors at work,” write the researchers, led by Marjo Sinokki of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

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