Workplace Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms: A Study of Multi-Ethnic Hospital Employees
- 626 Downloads
Workplace discrimination reports have recently increased in the U.S. Few studies have examined racial/ethnic differences and the mental health consequences of this exposure. We examined the association between self-reported workplace discrimination and depressive symptoms among a multi-ethnic sample of hospital employees. Data came from the prospective case–control Gradients of Occupational Health in Hospital Workers (GROW) study (N = 664). We used the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) to assess depressive symptoms and measured the occurrence, types, and frequency of workplace discrimination. African Americans were more likely than other racial/ethnic employees to report frequent and multiple types of discrimination exposure. Multivariate relationships were examined while controlling for socio-demographic factors, job strain, and general social stressors. After adjustment, workplace discrimination occurrence and frequency were positively associated with depressive symptoms. The positive association between workplace discrimination and depressive symptoms was similar across racial and ethnic groups. Reducing workplace discrimination may improve psychosocial functioning among racial/ethnic minority hospital employees at greatest risk of exposure.
KeywordsDiscrimination Workplace Depression Job strain Race/ethnicity
This study was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, (Grant R01 AR47798-01). The first author is supported by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (Award 1L60MD002605-01), the National Cancer Institute (Grant 3U01CA114629-04S2), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Cancer Research Fund. The authors would like to thank Drs. Noel Brewer, Edwin B. Fisher, and Brenda DeVellis for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran for statistical consultation.
- Bhui, K., Stansfeld, S., McKenzie, K., Karlsen, S., Nazroo, J., & Weich, S. (2005). Racial/ethnic discrimination and common mental disorders among workers: findings from the EMPIRIC study of ethnic minority groups in the United Kingdom. American Journal of Public Health, 95(3), 496–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cohen, S. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. S. Shirlynn & O. Stuart (Eds.), The social psychology of health (pp. 31–67). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- EEOC. (2008). Race-based charges: FY 1999–FY 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2008, from http://www.eeoc.gov/stats/race.html.
- EEOC. (2009). Charge statistics FY 1997 through FY 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2009, from http://www.eeoc.gov/stats/charges.html.
- Folkman, S., Lazarus, R. S., Dunkel-Schetter, C., DeLongis, A., Gruen, R. J., Higgins, E. T., et al. (2000). The dynamics of a stressful encounter. In Motivational science: Social and personality perspectives (pp. 111–127). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Gee, G. C., Ryan, A., Laflamme, D. J., & Holt, J. (2006). Self-reported discrimination and mental health status among African descendants, Mexican Americans, and other Latinos in the New Hampshire REACH 2010 initiative: The added dimension of immigration. American Journal of Public Health, 96(10), 1821–1828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Geronimus, A. T. (1992). The weathering hypothesis and the health of African-American women and infants: Evidence and speculations. Ethnicity and Disease, 2(3), 207–221.Google Scholar
- Gillen, M., Yen, I. H., Trupin, L., Swig, L., Rugulies, R., Mullen, K., et al. (2007). The association of socioeconomic status and psychosocial and physical workplace factors with musculoskeletal injury in hospital workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 50(4), 245–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Inoue, A., Kawakami, N., Haratani, T., Kobayashi, F., Ishizaki, M., Hayashi, T., et al. (2010). Job stressors and long-term sick leave due to depressive disorders among Japanese male employees: Findings from the Japan work stress and health cohort study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 64(3), 229–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Koji, W., Katsutoshi, T., Gilles, T., Toshihiko, S., Masaru, M., Hitoshi, M., et al. (2007). Validity of the center for epidemiologic studies depression scale as a screening instrument of major depressive disorder among Japanese workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 50(1), 8–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kopp, M. S., Thege, B. K., Balog, P., Stauder, A., Salavecz, G., Rózsa, S., et al. (2010). Measures of stress in epidemiological research. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, In Press, Corrected Proof.Google Scholar
- Landsbergis, P. A., Theorell, T., Schwartz, J., Greiner, B. A., & Krause, N. (2000). Measurement of psychosocial workplace exposure variables. Occupational Medicine, 15(1), 163–188.Google Scholar
- Lazarus, R. S. (1995). Psychological stress in the workplace. In R. Crandall & P. L. Perrewe (Eds.), Occupational stress: A handbook (pp. 3–14). Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- Rospenda, K. M., Richman, J. A., & Shannon, C. A. (2008). Prevalence and mental health correlates of harassment and discrimination in the workplace: Results from a national study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0886260508317182.Google Scholar
- Schulz, A. J., Gravlee, C. C., Williams, D. R., Israel, B. A., Mentz, G., & Rowe, Z. (2006). Discrimination, symptoms of depression, and self-rated health among African American women in Detroit: Results from a longitudinal analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 96(7), 1265–1270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- SPSS for Windows Release 16. (2007). Chicago, IL: SPSS, Inc.Google Scholar
- Stahl, D., Sum, C. F., Lum, S. S., Liow, P. H., Chan, Y. H., Verma, S., et al. (2008). Screening for depressive symptoms: Validation of the center for epidemiologic studies depression scale (CES-D) in a multiethnic group of patients with diabetes in Singapore. Diabetes Care, 31(6), 1118–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Weissman, M. M., Sholomskas, D., Pottenger, M., Prusoff, B. A., & Locke, B. Z. (1977). Assessing depressive symptoms in five psychiatric populations: A validation study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 106(3), 203–214.Google Scholar
- Wheaton, B., Avison, W. R., & Gotlib, I. H. (1994). Sampling the stress universe. In Stress and mental health: Contemporary issues and prospects for the future (pp. 77–114). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
- Williams, R. B., Barefoot, J. C., Blumenthal, J. A., & Helms, M. J. (1997a). Psychosocial correlates of job strain in a sample of working women. Archives of General Psychiatry, 54(6), 543–548.Google Scholar
- Yen, I. H., Ragland, D. R., Greiner, B. A., & Fisher, J. M. (1999). Workplace discrimination and alcohol consumption: Findings from the San Francisco Muni health and safety study. Ethnicity and Disease, 9(1), 70–80.Google Scholar