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Ann Occup Environ Med. 2018 Mar 12;30:17. doi: 10.1186/s40557-018-0229-9. eCollection 2018.

Emotional labor, workplace violence, and depressive symptoms in female Bank employees: a questionnaire survey using the K-ELS and K-WVS.

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Department of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Soonchunhyang University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea.



In modern society, the scale of the service industry is continuously expanding, and the number of service workers is increasing. Correspondingly, physical and mental problems related to emotional labor are becoming a major social problem. In this study, we investigated the relationship between emotional labor, workplace violence, and depressive symptoms in female bank employees, which is a typical service industry.


In this study, the Korean Emotional Labor Scale (K-ELS) and Korean Workplace Violence Scale (K-WVS) were distributed to 381 female workers in their 20s at a bank in Seoul, Korea. Data were obtained from 289 subjects (75.9%) and analyzed for 278 respondents, after excluding those with missing responses. We examined the relationship between emotional labor, workplace violence, and depressive symptoms, using multiple logistic regression analysis.


Among 278 subjects, 27 workers (9.7%) had depressive symptoms. "Emotional disharmony and hurt" (OR 2.93, 95% CI = 1.17-7.36) and "Organizational surveillance and monitoring" (OR 3.18, 95% CI = 1.29-7.86) showed a significant association with depressive symptoms. For workplace violence, the "Experience of psychological and sexual violence from supervisors and coworkers" (OR 4.07, 95% CI = 1.58-10.50) showed a significant association. When the number of high-risk emotional labor-related factors was 1 or more, 13.1% showed depressive symptoms. When the number of high-risk workplace violence-related factors was 1 or more, 14.4% had statistically significant depressive symptoms.


A significant result was found for depressive symptoms related to Emotional disharmony, which is a sub-topic of emotional labor, and those at high risk for "Organizational surveillance and monitoring." For workplace violence, depressive symptoms were high for the group at high risk for the "experience of psychological and sexual violence from supervisors and coworkers." In this way, management of emotional disharmony, a sub-factor of emotional labor, is necessary, and improvements to traditional corporate culture that monitors emotional labor is necessary. Violence from colleagues and supervisors in the workplace must also be reduced.IRB Approval No. SCHUH 2017-01-029. Registered 26 January 2017. Retrospectively registered.


Bank; Depression; Emotional labor; K-ELS; K-WVS; Workplace violence

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.We obtain ethical approval from the institutional review board (IRB Approval No. SCHUH 2017–01-029) at Soonchunhayang university.Not applicable.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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