Lack of control key factor in depression among staff

Middle-aged men with partners who work part time or stay at home looking
after the children are less likely to suffer from depression than those with
partners who work full-time, according to research.

The study of 10,000 civil servants by the Department of Psychiatry at Queen
Mary’s School of Medicine, London, also found men whose partners move to
full-time work showed higher rates of depression.

Having control of work, opportunities for use of skills and work variety
were all found to be important factors in explaining why higher-grade employees
in the Civil Service had lower rates of depression than those lower down the
pecking order.

Certain workplace stress factors were more common in lower grade jobs,
including frustration at lack of promotion, feeling overburdened by the job and
having little freedom over work, the study commissioned by the Economic and
Social Research Council reported.

Women in the lowest to middle employment grades who reported little control
over their environment at work or at home were most at risk of depression.

Men in middle grades in a similar position and those in middle to higher
grades who felt powerless at home were also at risk, researchers found.

"We also found that women whose partners became unemployed were more at
risk of depression, whereas having a partner who moved from work into
retirement had no effect on their depression score," said report author
Professor Stephen Stansfield.

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