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Social relationships at work and depression
  1. Roberto De Vogli
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Roberto De Vogli, International Institute for Society and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1–19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK; r.devogli{at}

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There is a quite large body of evidence indicating that social relationships are important determinants of health.1 2 The benefits of social relationships have been observed in multiple settings, including the work environment,3 and they extend not only to physical health but also mental health.4 In this issue of JECH, Oksanen and colleagues show that distrustful, disrespectful and uncooperative social relationships at work are independent predictors of physician-diagnosed depression and antidepressant treatment (see page 684).5 Their study demonstrated that both the ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ components of social relationships at work exert an independent effect on depression. The interest of their study is that it demonstrates that not only negative social relationships among co-workers make people feel miserable, but also ‘toxic’ social exchanges with bosses and supervisors.

However, in a way, such findings are not surprising. People deeply care about how they are treated by others in equal or higher positions in the social hierarchy and there is …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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