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Depression more common for women working longer hours, study says

By Tauren Dyson
Depression more common for women working longer hours, study says
Women who worked extra-long work hours had 7.3 percent more depressive symptoms like feeling worthless or incapable than women who worked a normal workload of between 35 and 40 hours. Photo by Inga/Shutterstock

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- For women, working harder doesn't always pay off, particularly when it comes to mental health. Women who work longer than 55 hours a week have an increased risk of depression, a study says.

Women who worked extra-long work hours had 7.3 percent more depressive symptoms, such as feeling worthless or incapable, than women who worked a normal workload of between 35 and 40 hours, according to a British study published Monday in Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

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On average, women who worked for all or most weekends had 4.6 percent more depressive symptoms versus women working only weekdays. That's also lower than the 3.4 percent of men who worked all or most weekends.

"This is an observational study, so although we cannot establish the exact causes, we do know many women face the additional burden of doing a larger share of domestic labor than men, leading to extensive total work hours, added time pressures and overwhelming responsibilities," said Gill Weston, a researcher at University College London and study lead author, in a news release.

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Working mothers put in fewer hours than women without children, while fathers worked longer hours than all women and men without children.

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"Additionally women who work most weekends tend to be concentrated in low-paid service sector jobs, which have been linked to higher levels of depression," Weston said.

About half of women worked weekends compared to two-thirds of men, the study says. The women who clocked hours on all or most weekends worked low-skilled jobs and had less satisfaction with their jobs. They also earned less worked a standard Monday through Friday schedule or who only worked some weekends.

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"Women, in general, are more likely to be depressed than men, and this was no different in the study," Weston said. "Independent of their working patterns, we also found that workers with the most depressive symptoms were older, on lower incomes, smokers, in physically demanding jobs, and who were dissatisfied at work. More sympathetic working practices could bring benefits both for workers and for employers - of both sexes."

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