Research Papers:

Long working hours, job satisfaction, and depressive symptoms: a community-based cross-sectional study among Japanese employees in small- and medium-scale businesses

Akinori Nakata _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:53041-53052. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18084

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Akinori Nakata1

1School of Health Sciences, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan

Correspondence to:

Akinori Nakata, email: nakataa@health.uoeh-u.ac.jp

Keywords: working hours, job satisfaction, depressive symptoms, work condition, Japan

Received: March 19, 2017     Accepted: May 09, 2017     Published: May 23, 2017


Although long working hours have been suspected to be a risk factor for depressive symptoms (DS), it is not well understood the conditions under which long working hours are associated with it. This study investigated the moderating effect of job satisfaction on the relationship between working hours and DS. A total of 2,375 full-time non-shift day workers (73% men), aged 18–79 (mean 45) years, in 296 small- and medium-scale businesses were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire evaluating working hours, job satisfaction, DS and covariates. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D) was used to assess DS. Risk of DS (CES-D ≥ 16) by working hours, job satisfaction, and both combined was estimated by multivariable logistic regression analysis. Compared to participants working 6–8 hrs/day, those working 12+ hrs/day had significantly higher odds of DS (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.49), while participants with low satisfaction, as opposed to high satisfaction, had increased odds of DS (aOR 1.81). Furthermore, compared to those working 6–8 hrs/day with high satisfaction (reference group), participants working 6-8 hrs/day, > 8 to 10 hrs/day, and > 10 hrs/day combined with low satisfaction had dose-response increase of DS (aOR 1.48, 2.21 and 2.31, respectively, p < 0.05), whereas those working > 8 to 10 hrs/day and > 10 hrs/day combined with high satisfaction had not (aOR 0.93 and 1.39, respectively, p > 0.10). The results suggest that long working hours are associated with increased risk of DS only under reduced job satisfaction condition, which highlights the importance of improving job satisfaction, particularly among those working excessive hours.

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