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Am J Ind Med. 2011 Oct;54(10):791-9. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20991. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Depressive symptoms in women working in a poultry-processing plant: a longitudinal analysis.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.



Work in poultry-processing plants is physically demanding, and a number of studies have documented the effects of such work on the physical health of workers. Few studies, however, have examined the potential effects on mental health.


Longitudinal data were collected on 223 women who worked in two poultry-processing plants in northeastern North Carolina. Effects on depressive symptoms of demographic variables, work tenure at baseline, musculoskeletal pain, psychosocial job characteristics, coping style, and health-related quality of life were examined using mixed models.


Psychosocial job characteristics were not associated with depressive symptoms as measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D) in this cohort of workers. CES-D scores decreased with increasing work tenure at the plant, which suggests a healthy worker survivor effect (HWSE).


These exploratory analyses draw attention to the need to more carefully explore the possibility that the HWSE may extend to mental health outcomes as well as physical ones.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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