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This month's round-up of occupational health research includes studies on the effect on health of being 'locked in' to a job, and depression screening in and OH setting.
“Locked in” at work and employee wellbeing
Being “locked in” to a job that you do not like, coupled with feelings of being unemployable elsewhere, are detrimental to employee wellbeing, according to this Swedish study of 3,491 employees. Participants in the study who were not locked in at work had better wellbeing measures than those at risk of becoming locked in, who in turn showed better wellbeing than those already locked in. Moving from a locked-in to a non-locked-in status at work was also accompanied by significant improvements in wellbeing, and vice versa, the study shows.
J Stengard et al. “Stuck in a job: being ‘locked in’ or at risk of becoming locked in at the workplace and wellbeing over time”. Work & Stress, vol.30, issue 2, 2016.
Depression screening in the OH setting
Depression and anxiety are significant contributors to sickness absence from work. This US study seeks to assess the frequency of depression at the point when a patient presents at an occupational health practice. Just over 200 patients were screened using a nine item patient health questionnaire, and 30% received a diagnosis of depression. The authors conclude that “screening for depression, with appropriate recognition and referral, may reduce time for employed patients on restricted duties and permanent restrictions”.
RD Newcomb et al. “Screening for depression in the occupational health setting”. Occupational Medicine, published online 6 May 2016.
Workaholism in Irish academics
Workaholism is recognised as a health risk for academics given the open-ended nature of academic work, and this study sought to assess the prevalence of the condition within three Irish universities. It also explored the impact of workaholism on psychological wellbeing, work-life conflict, work-life fit, job satisfaction and perceived work effort. Academics were categorised by workaholism type – for example, 27% were workaholics, 23% were enthusiastic workaholics, 27% were relaxed workers and 23% uninvolved workers. Those academics in the “workaholics” group reported poorer functioning across all productivity and wellbeing measures.
V Hogan et al. “A study of workaholism in Irish academics”. Occupational Medicine, published online 21 M