Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Emotional Demands at Work and the Risk of Clinical Depression

A Longitudinal Study in the Danish Public Sector

Vammen, Marianne Agergaard MSc; Mikkelsen, Sigurd MD; Hansen, Åse Marie PhD; Bonde, Jens Peter PhD; Grynderup, Matias B. PhD; Kolstad, Henrik PhD; Kærlev, Linda PhD; Mors, Ole PhD; Rugulies, Reiner PhD; Thomsen, Jane Frlund PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 10 - p 994–1001
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000849

Objective: This study is a 2-year follow-up study of different dimensions of work-related emotional demands as a predictor for clinical depression.

Methods: In a two-wave study, 3224 (72%) public employees from 474 work-units participated twice by filling in questionnaires. Sixty-two cases of clinical depression were diagnosed. Emotional demands were examined as perceived and content-related emotional demands, individually reported and work-unit based. Support, meaningful work, and enrichment were considered as potential effect modifiers.

Results: Individually reported perceived emotional demands predicted depression (odds ratio: 1.40; 95% confidence intervals: 1.02 to 1.92). The work-unit based odds ratio was in the same direction, though not significant. Content-related emotional demands did not predict depression. Support, meaningful work, and enrichment did not modify the results.

Conclusions: The personal perception of emotional demands was a risk factor for clinical depression but specific emotionally demanding work tasks were not.

Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Bispebjerg Bakke (Vammen, Drs Mikkelsen, Bonde, Thomsen); Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen (Drs Hansen, Grynderup, Rugulies); National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen (Drs Hansen, Rugulies); Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Aarhus University Hospital (Dr Kolstad); Research Unit of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark (Dr Kærlev); Center for Clinical Epidemiology, Odense University Hospital (Dr Kærlev); Research Department P, Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov (Dr Mors); and Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (Dr Rugulies).

Address correspondence to: Marianne Agergaard Vammen, MSc, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Bispebjerg Bakke, Copenhagen DK2400 Denmark (

Authors Vammen, Mikkelsen, Hansen, Bonde, Grynderup, Kolstad, Kærlev, Mors, Rugulies, and Thomsen have no other relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Marianne Agergaard Vammen was funded by Lundbeck A/S. Lundbeck A/S was not involved in any parts of the study or the preparation of the article.

The PRISME study was supported by an unrestricted research grant from the Danish Working Environment Research Fund ( 5-2005-09) and Lundbeck A/S.

There is no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine