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Nord J Psychiatry. 2005;59(6):486-91.

Major depressive episode related to long unemployment and frequent alcohol intoxication.

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National Public Health Institute, Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, Helsinki, Finland.


We studied the association between two major problems--unemployment and major depressive episode--and the impact of different timing of periods of unemployment and risk factors, especially alcohol intoxication, for major depressive episode among the unemployed. Major depressive episode during the last 12 months, plus current and past employment status and frequency of alcohol intoxication, were assessed within the nationally representative, cross-sectional 1996 Finnish Health Care Survey, in which non-institutionalized individuals aged 15-75 years were interviewed by using the Short Form of the University of Michigan version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (the UM-CIDI Short Form). Of the 5993 subjects interviewed, 3818 (64%) were occupationally active and included in the logistic regression analysis, showing that even after adjusting for other potentially confounding variables, current unemployment was associated with major depressive episode (odds ratio, OR=1.78, 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.38-2.29). Further analysis revealed that the increased risk of major depressive episode was only related to long-term unemployment. Frequent alcohol intoxication (at least once a week) increased the risk of major depressive episode remarkably. Compared with the group "Constantly employed, no frequent alcohol intoxication", long-term unemployment with no frequent alcohol intoxication had moderately increased risk of major depressive episode (OR=1.72 (95% CI 1.29-2.30) and those with frequent alcohol intoxication had highly increased risk [OR=11.27 (95% CI 5.51-23.09) vs. OR=1.72 (95% CI 1.29-2.30]. Long-term unemployment is associated with increased risk of major depressive episode. Frequent alcohol intoxication among long-term unemployed individuals greatly increases the risk of depression.

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