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Understanding the relationship of long working hours with health status and health-related behaviours
  1. Lucia Artazcoz1,
  2. Imma Cortès1,
  3. Vicenta Escribà-agüir2,
  4. Lorena Cascant1,
  5. Rodrigo Villegas1
  1. 1 Agència de salut pública de barcelona, Spain;
  2. 2 Valencian School for Health Studies. Regional Ministry of Health. Generalitat Valenciana, Spain
  1. E-mail: lartazco{at}


Background: The objectives of this study are to identify family and job characteristics associated with long workhours, to analyse the relationship between long workhours and several health indicators and to examine whether gender differences for both objectives exist.

Methods: The sample was composed of all salaried workers aged 16-64 years (3950 men and 3153 women) interviewed in the 2006 Catalonian Health Survey. Weekly workhours were categorized as less than 30 hours (part-time), 30-40 (reference category), 41-50 and 51-60 hours. Multiple logistic regression models separated by sex were fitted.

Results: Factors associated with long working hours differed by gender. Among men extended workhours were related with being married or cohabiting and with being separated or divorced. In males, working 51-60 hours a week was consistently associated with poor mental health status (aOR=2.06, 95% CI=1.31-3.24), hypertension (aOR=1.60, 95% CI=1.12-2.29), job dissatisfaction (aOR=2.05, 95% CI=1.49-2.82), smoking (aOR=1.33, 95% CI=1.03-1.72), shortage of sleep (aOR=1.42, 95% CI=1.09-1.85) and no leisure-time physical activity (aOR=2.43, 95% CI=1.64-3.60). Moreover, a gradient from standard working hours to 51-60 hours a week was found for these six outcomes. Among women it was only related to smoking and to shortage of sleep.

Conclusion: The association of overtime with different health indicators among men could be explained by their role of family breadwinners that in situations of family financial stress can derived into pressure to work overtime in order to increase the income and/or acceptance of poor working conditions, one of them being long working hours, due to fear of job loss.

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