Job stress and depressive symptoms among Korean employees: the effects of culture on work

  • Shin-Goo Park
  • Kyoung-Bok Min
  • Sei-Jin Chang
  • Hwan-Cheol Kim
  • Jin-Young MinEmail author
Original Article



This study was conducted to investigate the association between depressive symptoms and job stress, as measured by the KOSS, among Korean employees in small- and medium-sized enterprises, and examined which components of stress are involved in the risk for depression among males and females.


Data were collected from a work-stress survey of full-time employees of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Incheon, South Korea. A total of 3,013 participants were included in the analysis. Job stress was measured using 24 items (7 sub-scales) of the short form of Korean occupational stress scale (KOSS-SF), and depressive symptoms were evaluated using Center for epidemiologic studies depression scale (CES-D).


After adjustment for confounding variables, most of subscales of job stress contributed to an increased risk of depressive symptoms, and job insecurity (male; OR = 2.02, 95%CI: 1.61–2.40, female; OR = 1.95, 95%CI: 1.42–2.70) and occupational climate (male; OR = 1.84, 95%CI: 1.49–2.28, female; OR = 1.78, 95%CI: 1.30–2.49) showed strong associations in both male and female. Other subscales revealed different effects for males and females; for males, job demands (OR = 1.68, 95%CI: 1.43–2.20), inadequate social support (OR = 1.55, 95%CI: 1.23–1.94), and lack of rewards (OR = 1.88, 95%CI: 1.48–2.37) were associated with depressive symptoms, whereas for females, organizational injustice (OR = 1.62, 95%CI: 1.14–2.30) was associated with depressive symptoms.


These results indicate that job stress may play a significant role in increasing the risk of depressive symptoms, and that further preventive efforts and research are needed to reduce job stress and address health problems caused by job stress among Korean employees.


Job stress KOSS-SF CES-D Work culture Korea 



This work was supported by INHA UNIVERSITY Research Grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shin-Goo Park
    • 1
  • Kyoung-Bok Min
    • 2
  • Sei-Jin Chang
    • 3
  • Hwan-Cheol Kim
    • 1
  • Jin-Young Min
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Occupational and Environmental MedicineInha University HospitalIncheonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Occupational and Environmental MedicineAjou University School of MedicineSuwonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Preventive Medicine and Institute of Occupational MedicineWonju College of Medicine, Yonsei UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Institute of Health and EnvironmentSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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