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J Occup Environ Med. 2016 Oct;58(10):994-1001.

Emotional Demands at Work and the Risk of Clinical Depression: A Longitudinal Study in the Danish Public Sector.

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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).



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


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.


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.


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

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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