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As Work Stress Rises, So May Depression
Date:4/9/2009

But whether jobs trigger psychological woes or vice versa is unclear, expert says,,,,

THURSDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- A stressful work environment brought on by lack of team spirit increases worker depression and the odds that employees will turn to antidepressants for relief, a new study finds.

Given the current recession, the workplace has become even more stressful with people afraid of losing their jobs and uncertain about their economic future, one expert says.

"The U.S. work environment right now is far more tenuous and toxic than in recent history," said Josh Klapow, an associate professor of health-care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who had no role in the study. "With layoffs and downsizing, the opportunities for increased stress, negativity and pressure have all greatly increased."

But even in the best of times, the study found, workplace environment can take a psychological toll on workers.

"Depression is common in working populations and is associated with substantial work disability in terms of sick leave and disability pensions," said Marjo Sinokki, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Turku, Finland, and the study's lead researcher. "It is important to promote well-being at work in every way and pay attention also to team climate."

The report was published online April 8 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

For the study, Sinokki's team collected data on 3,347 Finnish workers, ages 30 to 64. They asked about people's workplace environment -- specifically about team spirit and the quality of communication and about how they felt about the demands of their jobs.

Participants were asked to rate their workplace according to four descriptive phrases: "encouraging and supportive of new ideas," "prejudiced and conservative," "nice and easy" and "quarrelsome and disagreeing." They also were aske
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