Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2021;47(3):191-199    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3936

Long working hours and psychiatric treatment: A Danish follow-up study

by Hannerz H, Albertsen K, Nielsen ML, Garde AH

Objective This study aimed to estimate prospective associations between long working hours and (i) redeemed prescriptions for psychotropic drugs and (ii) psychiatric hospital treatment due to mood, anxiety or stress-related disease, among full-time employees in Denmark.

Methods Full-time employees who participated in the Danish Labor Force Survey sometime in the period 2000–2013 (N=131 321] were followed for up to five years in national registers for redeemed prescriptions for psychotropic drugs and psychiatric hospital treatment due to mood, anxiety or stress-related disease. Rate ratios (RR) were estimated for 41–48 versus 32–40 and >48 versus 32–40 working hours a week. The analyses were controlled for sex, age, night shift work, calendar time of the interview and socioeconomic status (SES). Prevalent cases were excluded in primary analyses.

Results The RR for psychotropic drugs were estimated at 0.94 [99% confidence interval (CI) 0.88–1.01] for 41–48 versus 32–40 working hours a week and 1.08 (99% CI 0.99–1.18) for >48 versus 32–40 working hours a week. The corresponding RR for psychiatric hospital treatments were estimated at 0.90 (95% CI 0.75–1.08) and 0.96 (95% CI 0.76–1.21). We did not find any statistically significant interaction between weekly working hours and age, sex, SES or night shift work.

Conclusion Long working hours as they occur in in the general working population of Denmark are not an important predictor of mental ill health.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2018;44(3):239-250  2017;43(6):578-586  2016;42(2):153-161  1996;22(2):124-132
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