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Warning over depressed employees

A bad atmosphere at work can lead to employees becoming depressed and hitting the bottle, according to research at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

This is particularly the case where lack of team spirit means they cannot rely on their colleagues, writes Dr Marjo Sinokki in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

He asked 3,347 employees aged between 30 and 64 whether their workplaces were encouraging and supportive of new ideas; prejudiced and conservative; nice and easy; or quarrelsome and disagreeable.

He writes: "Mental disorders, especially depression, are common in working populations and are associated with substantial work disability in terms of sick leave and work disability pensions.

"Increasing evidence suggests psychosocial work characteristics predict mental ill health. The association between high psychological demands, low decision latitude, high job insecurity and low social support and mental health problems has been reported in earlier studies."

He warns: "As these common mental disorders are a major cause of work disability and account for a considerable proportion of the disease burden, more attention should be paid to psychosocial factors at work."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health