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Working hours and depressive symptoms over 7 years: evidence from a Korean panel study

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how working hours influence depressive symptoms and the association between working hours and depressive symptoms differently across genders.

Method

The sample consists of salaried workers aged 25–64 years who participated in two consecutive waves of the seven-wave Korean Welfare Panel Study (2007–2013) (n = 6813 individuals, 27,986 observations) which is a survey of a nationally representative sample of the South Korean population. I apply logit regression and fixed-effects logit regression to examine the causal relation between (intra-)individual changes of working hours and depressive symptoms over a 7-year period.

Results

Results from logit model and fixed-effects logit model show that less than 30 h of work per week and more than 60 h of work per week are associated with significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms. Sex-stratified analyses reveal that women who worked over 60 h per week were at increased risk of showing depressive symptoms compared with women who worked 30–40 h per week. No significant increase in depressive symptoms was seen in men who worked more than 60 h per week. However, men working less than 30 h per week are more likely to report higher levels of depressive symptoms.

Conclusions

These results suggest that work arrangement affects the mental health of men and women differently.

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Notes

  1. Data for current study are publicly available and further details about the data can be found in its website (http://www.koweps.re.kr/).

  2. Therefore, the first two waves are excluded because the second wave did not collect information on weekly working hours.

  3. It is appropriate to distinguish between singlehood (i.e. never married) and other statuses such as divorced, widowed and separated. Stressful life events such as marital dissolution are likely to be linked to depressive symptoms.

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Correspondence to Seoyeon Ahn.

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Ahn, S. Working hours and depressive symptoms over 7 years: evidence from a Korean panel study. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 91, 273–283 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-017-1278-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-017-1278-z

Keywords

  • CES–D scale
  • Depressive symptom
  • Fixed effects
  • Hours worked
  • Workhour