Poor pay linked to worker depression

Nov. 23, 2011 at 10:44 PM

BOSTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Financial strain, a lack of food and symptoms of depression were common among an ethnically diverse sample of U.S. nursing homes employees, researchers say.

Cassandra A. Okechukwu, an assistant professor at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the association of household-level stressors with depressive symptoms among nursing home employees.

The study involved 452 primary and non-primary wage earners in four nursing homes in 2006 and 2007. The researchers found a 26 percent prevalence of depressive symptoms among the study participants.

The findings, published online ahead of the January print issue of the American Journal of Public Health, suggested work, financial and familial circumstances faced by these employees may partly account for their depressive symptoms.

"Because improvement in care quality at nursing homes is an important public health priority, reducing workers' depressive symptoms and their associated effects may have positive results for both workers and nursing home residents," the study authors said in a statement.

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