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Exploring the Association Between Social Capital and Depressive Symptoms: Results of a Survey in German Information and Communication Technology Companies

Jung, Julia PhD; Ernstmann, Nicole PhD; Nitzsche, Anika Dip/Soz; Driller, Elke PhD; Kowalski, Christoph PhD; Lehner, Birgit MA; Stieler-Lorenz, Brigitte PhD; Friepörtner, Katharina PhD; Schmidt, Anna MSc; Pfaff, Holger PhD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: January 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 1 - p 23–30
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318237a1b6
Original Articles

Objective: This study examines the association between social capital at work and depressive symptoms in employees.

Methods: Data for this cross-sectional study were collected through an online survey with the full population of employees from six companies in the German information and communication technology sector (response rate: 58.4%). A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed.

Results: Results of data from a total of 328 employees suggest that, after controlling for sociodemographic factors, health awareness, and job strain, lower levels of perceived social capital at work are associated with the experience of depressive symptoms (OR = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.64–0.90).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that characteristics of high social capital at work, such as an established environment of trust and a sense of common values and convictions, could be an essential resource for preventing depressive disorders.

From the Institute for Medical Sociology, Health Services Research and Rehabilitation Science (IMVR) (Mss Jung, Ernstmann, Nitzsche, Driller, Lehner, and Schmidt, Mr Kowalski, and Mr Pfaff), Faculty of Human Sciences and Medical Faculty, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany; Medical Management (Ms Friepörtner), University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany; and Core Business Development GmbH (Ms Stieler-Lorenz), Berlin, Germany.

Address correspondence to: Julia Jung, Institute for Medical Sociology, Health Services Research and Rehabilitation Science (IMVR), Faculty of Human Sciences and Medical Faculty, University of Cologne & Center for Health Services Research Cologne (ZVFK), Eupener Strasse 129, 50933 Cologne, Germany (julia.jung@uk-koeln.de).

This research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the European Union, the European Social Fund (Grant no.: 01FM07007), and Köln Fortune (a grant from the University Hospital of Cologne; Grant no.: VH-VI-143).

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine