Background Research on the association between job strain or other job stressors and depressive disorders is still limited. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the prospective association of job strain, role stressors and job insecurity with long-term sick leave due to depressive disorders.
Methods A prospective study was conducted of a total of 15 256 men aged 18–67 years with no previous history of mental disorders employed in six manufacturing factories located in several regions of Japan. At baseline, they were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire, including self-reported measures of job strain, as well as its components (job overload and job control), role stressors (role ambiguity and role conflict), social support at work, job insecurity and other demographic and psychological covariates. During the follow-up, a long-term sick leave of 30 days or more due to depressive disorders was recorded.
Results During 5.14 years of follow-up on average, 47 incident cases of sick leave of 30 days or more due to depressive disorders were observed. High job control at baseline was associated with a lower risk of long-term sick leave due to depressive disorders, after adjusting for demographic variables, depressive symptoms and neuroticism at baseline (hazard ratio 0.28, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.71); high role ambiguity was associated with the higher risk (hazard ratio 3.49, 95% CI 1.43 to 8.49).
Conclusion Job control and role ambiguity may be important predictors of long-term sick leave due to depressive disorders among male employees, independent of depressive symptoms and neuroticism.
- depressive disorder
- job strain
- prospective study
- role stressor
- sick leave
- sickness absence
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Funding A special research grant for the prevention of work-related diseases in 1995–9 from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, supported our baseline data collection. The analysis and preparation of the manuscript were partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) 2004 (no 16390170) and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) 2008 (no 20240062) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Research Committee for Human Subjects, Gifu University School of Medicine.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.