Whether you have a part-time job, side business or just simply working weekends at the office, many of us work or know some people who work on the weekends.
Well, according to a report by Free Malaysia Today, those hard workers may be more likely to suffer depression.
The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, was done at the University College London, the Department of Research and Policy at Age UK, and Queen Mary University of London. With a data sample of 11,215 men and 12,188 women, they came across some interesting findings.
Defining a standard working week as 35 to 40 hours a week, they came up with the following categories.
- Less than standard working hours: <35 hours a week
- Standard working hours: 35-40 hours a week
- Long working hours: 41-55 hours a week
- Extra-long working hours: 55+ hours a week
The study found that women who worked extra-long hours and/or on most weekends had the worst mental health out of everybody, with significantly more symptoms than women who worked standard hours. For men, working more or fewer hours than the standard working week had no effect on depressive symptoms.
However, it’s important to note that working weekends was linked to increased risk of depression in both sexes.
It was also discovered that men were more likely to experience more depressive symptoms with weekend work when they disliked their work conditions, while the depressive symptoms of women increased with the number of weekends worked especially compared to women who only worked weekdays.
As the study was based purely on observation, researchers say they can’t establish cause and effect.
The UK study also unveiled how almost half the women in the study worked less than 35 hours a week while most of the men worked longer hours. However, researchers pointed out that “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.”
Study leader Gillian Weston said, “We need to move from a culture of unrealistic demands and low rewards to one in which workers are supported and valued, feel they have control, feel they have purpose, and are allowed sufficient time for recovery and leisure.”
“This would benefit workers of both sexes and result in a happier and healthier workforce too – which of course would also benefit the employer,” she added.
Health, both physical and mental, is a priority that everybody must take care of, so make sure you strive to get a good work-life balance! In light of this, we should all also be more supportive of our friends and family that work especially long or irregular hours. After all, having support from our loved ones can really encourage and counteract the daily stresses of work, leading to better relationships and mental health. In other words, it keeps us happy and sane!
Do you usually work weekends or know friends or family members who do? Do you think they feel more depressed? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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