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Prevalence of depression and its relationship with work characteristics in a sample of public workers

Authors Luca M, Bellia S, Bellia M, Luca A, Calandra C

Received 2 November 2013

Accepted for publication 8 January 2014

Published 25 March 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 519—525

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S56989

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Maria Luca,1 Salvatore Bellia,2 Marcello Bellia,3 Antonina Luca,4 Carmela Calandra1

1Department of Medical and Surgery Specialties, Psychiatry Unit, 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, General Pathology Unit, University Hospital Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele, 3B Ramazzini Institute, 4Department GF Ingrassia, Section of Neuroscience, University Hospital Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele, Catania, Sicily, Italy

Abstract: Occupation is a fundamental right, enabling social interaction and financial support for the individual. However, it is an undeniable source of stress, with consequences for physical and mental health. The prevalence of depression and somatic complaints were assessed in 1,013 public workers using the Beck Depression Inventory and a questionnaire investigating for the presence of somatic problems designed by the research team. The results were related to demographic characteristics, history of previous depressive episodes, work schedule (day work, night and day rotating shift work, day rotating shift work), and duration of current work schedule. There were more cases of moderate depression in the day rotating shift workers (84%) than in those working at night (83%). More women had mild or moderate depression than men (22% and 4% versus 10% and 3%, respectively). Severe depression was found only in men. Nearly 10% of depressed individuals reported previous depressive episodes. A link between depression and somatic complaints was also found. In particular, 59% of depressed subjects reported gastrointestinal complaints and 41% did not (P<0.001). In conclusion, the occurrence of depressive symptoms could be facilitated by occupation. A history of depressive symptoms should not be neglected, given the risk of recurrence. Somatic complaints could represent a “wake-up call” regarding depression. Global assessment and effective support are fundamental for promotion of a better quality of life in the at-risk category of workers.

Keywords: depression, somatic complaints, previous depressive episodes, workers, work schedule, working period

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