Occupational stress and depression in Korean employees
The purpose of this study is to analyze what aspects of occupational stress predict depression among Korean workers, and determine which components of occupational stress or job characteristics is more strongly associated with depression.
In this cross-sectional study, a total of 8,522 workers (21–65 years of age) from a nationwide sample were recruited. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess socio-demographics, job characteristics, depressive symptoms measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and occupational stress assessed by the Korean occupational stress scale (KOSS).
Multivariate analyses show that inadequate social support (OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.52, 1.66) and discomfort in occupational climate (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.18, 1.32) were more important risk factors for depression than organizational injustice, job demand and job control. Compared to the ‘business activities’ industries, ‘recreational, cultural and sporting activities’ (OR = 3.45, 95% CI = 1.80, 6.58), ‘hotel and restaurants’ (OR = 3.34, 95% CI = 1.92, 5.80), ‘real estate and renting and leasing’ (OR = 2.24, 95% CI = 1.13, 4.44), ‘wholesale and retail’ (OR = 1.85, 95% CI = 1.28, 2.67), ‘transportation’ (OR = 1.85, 95% CI = 1.11, 3.07), and ‘financial institute and insurance’ (OR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.04, 2.48) industries had significantly greater risk of depression after controlling for gender, age, marital status, duration of employment and all subscale of KOSS.
The finding that inadequate social support and discomfort in occupational climate is a better predictor of depressive symptoms than organizational injustice in Korea, indicates that the newly developed KOSS has cultural relevance for assessing occupational stress in Korea. Future studies need to understand factors such as “emotional labor” within certain industries where increased risk for depression is observed.
KeywordsDepression Occupational stress Korean occupational stress scale (KOSS) Emotional labor
- Belkic K (2003) The occupational stress index: an approach derived from cognitive ergonomics and brain research for clinical practice. International Science Publishing, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Chang S, Koh S, Kang D, Kim S, Kang M, Lee C, Chung J, Cho J, Son M, Chae C, Kim J, Kim J, Kim H, Roh S, Park J, Woo J, Kim S, Kim J, Ha M, Park J, Rhee K, Kim H, Kong J, Kim I, Kim J, Park J, Huyun S, Son D (2005) Developing an occupational stress scale for Korean employees. Korean J Occup Environ Med 17:297–317Google Scholar
- Cherry N (1978) Stress, anxiety and work: a longitudinal study. J Occup Psychol 5:259–270Google Scholar
- Cho M, Kim K (1993) Diagnostic validity of the CES-D (Korean version) in the assessment of DSM-III-R major depression. J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc 32:381–399Google Scholar
- Cooper CLSS, Williams S (1998) Occupational stress indicator management guide. NFER-Nelson, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Ferrie JE, Shipley MJ, Stansfeld SA, Marmot MG (2002) Effects of chronic job insecurity and change in job security on self reported health, minor psychiatric morbidity, physiological measures, and health related behaviours in British civil servants: the Whitehall II study. J Epidemiol Community Health 56:450–454PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Frone M, Russell M, Ml C (1995) Job stressors, job involvement and employee health: a test of identity theory. J Occup Psychol 5:1–11Google Scholar
- Kim C (1988) A study on the formative factors for lifetime commitment in Korea management. Vol Doctor, Seoul, Hanyang, p 167Google Scholar
- Kim BJ (2000) Subjective class identification in Korea Korean. J Sociol 34:241–268Google Scholar
- Kim DO, Park SS (1997) Changing patterns of pay systems in Japan and Korea: from seniority to performance. Int J Employ Stud 5:117–134Google Scholar
- Lee K (1999) Women’s health and equality of men and women. Korean J Women Health Nurs 5:237–244Google Scholar
- Nam D (1986) A study on the characteristics of Japanese management. Business Education, Master, Choongnam, Daejeon, p 77Google Scholar
- Nam C (2002) The restructuring of labor markets and the long-term unemployment and recurrent unemployment after the economic crisis. Korean J Labor Stud 8:271–282Google Scholar
- Seyle H (1956) The stress of life. Longmans, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Weissman MM, Bland RC, Canino GJ, Faravelli C, Greenwald S, Hwu HG, Joyce PR, Karam EG, Lee CK, Lellouch J, Lepine JP, Newman SC, Rubio-Stipec M, Wells JE, Wickramaratne PJ, Wittchen H, Yeh EK (1996) Cross-national epidemiology of major depression and bipolar disorder. JAMA 276:293–299PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar