women who clock 55 working hours, or more, every week might have a higher risk of depression. Also, working on weekends can increase depression risk for both men and women. The researchers made this conclusion as they looked at data collected from Understanding Society, the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study, as they used data from over 23,000 men and women.
They wrote in their study that the people with the worst mental health overall were women who worked 55 hours or more, worked most or every weekend, or both. The study authors found a number of employment differences between genders and noted that men, in general, tended to work longer hours than their female peers.
The researchers had a number of theories on why there were differences between men and women in the workplace, as they noted that women were more likely to work long hours if they work in a male-dominated field. They recognised that women often have a potential double burden when factoring in household duties and caring for family members.
“There were a few factors that seemed to affect mental health, no matter what the person’s gender was. Older workers, workers who smoke, those who earned the least, and those who had the least control at their jobs tended to be more depressed when compared with other workers who did not have these specific circumstances.
“Clinical depression is one of the most common mental health conditions. It has several risk factors, which can include a family history of depression, major life changes, trauma, stress and certain physical illnesses. The symptoms of depression may include persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness and guilt, loss of interest in hobbies and sleeping issues,” the authors wrote.
The researchers explained that their findings did not establish cause, but that they could encourage employers to consider new policies that aimed at decreasing the burden on women in the workforce without decreasing their participation in the job sector.