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Working Overtime is Associated With Anxiety and Depression: The Hordaland Health Study

Kleppa, Elisabeth MD; Sanne, Bjarte MD, PhD; Tell, Grethe S. PhD, MPD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 6 - p 658-666
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181734330
Original Articles

Objective: To examine whether long work hours are associated with increased levels and prevalences of anxiety and depression.

Methods: Overtime workers (n = 1350) were compared with a reference group of 9092 workers not working overtime regarding anxiety and depression by means of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Self-reported information on various work-related factors, demographics, lifestyle, and somatic health was included.

Results: Overtime workers of both genders had significantly higher anxiety and depression levels and higher prevalences of anxiety and depressive disorders compared with those working normal hours. Findings suggest a dose-response relationship between work hours and anxiety or depression.

Conclusions: Working overtime is associated with increased levels of anxiety and depression. The working groups differed significantly regarding several factors including income and heavy manual labor.

From the Medical Faculty (Dr Kleppa), University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (Dr Sanne), University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; and Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care (Dr Tell), University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

CME Available for this Article at

Elisabeth Kleppa and coauthors have no financial interest related to this research.

Address correspondence to: Elisabeth Kleppa, Medical Faculty, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; E-mail:

Copyright © 2008 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine