Depression in women increased by longer working hours

  • Results from a new study found that women who work over 55 hours a week have the worst mental health.
  • The study says that working women who have additional responsibilities in the household carry a “potential double burden“.
  • Researchers suggest that employers should take this into consideration when thinking of new policies that can benefit working women without cutting their participation in the workforce.

A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health has found that excessive working hours can be detrimental to mental health. This conclusion was derived from data gathered from Understanding Society, the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study(UKHLS), which tracks the mental health of around 40,000 U.K. households.

Data regarding the employment of over 23,000 men and women were used for this study. Results showed that women who worked 55 hours or more, as well as most or every weekend, had the worst mental health. The difference is significant when comparing the mental state of women who work 35-40 hours a week.

“Such jobs, when combined with frequent or complex interactions with the public or clients, have been linked to higher levels of depression,” according to study authors.

Researchers found that women usually tend to work fewer hours than their male counterparts, married or not. They also noted that females tend to work longer hours in a male-dominated field. Researchers also found that people who work weekends usually have jobs that have lower pay. The study recognizes the “potential double burden” for women when you consider other duties like caring for the household and their family, which is unpaid work and an additional workload as well.

According to the authors, “Previous studies have found that once unpaid housework and caring is accounted for, women work longer than men, on average, and that this has been linked to poorer physical health.”

Though the findings don’t establish cause, the researchers still encourage employers to consider new policies that can reduce the burden on working women without cutting down on their participation in the job sector.

One of the most common mental health conditions is clinical depression. Factors include a family history of depression, major life changes, trauma, stress, and certain physical illnesses, according to Medical News Today. Symptoms of depression usually include lasting sadness, loss of interest in hobbies, feelings of hopelessness and guilt, and sleeping problems.

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