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The contribution of work and non-work stressors to common mental disorders in the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey

  • C. Clark (a1), C. Pike (a1), S. McManus (a2), J. Harris (a2), P. Bebbington (a3), T. Brugha (a4), R. Jenkins (a5), H. Meltzer (a4), S. Weich (a6) and S. Stansfeld (a1)...

Abstract

Background

Evidence for an effect of work stressors on common mental disorders (CMD) has increased over the past decade. However, studies have not considered whether the effects of work stressors on CMD remain after taking co-occurring non-work stressors into account.

Method

Data were from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, a national population survey of participants ⩾16 years living in private households in England. This paper analyses data from employed working age participants (N=3383: 1804 males; 1579 females). ICD-10 diagnoses for depressive episode, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, panic or mixed anxiety and depression in the past week were derived using a structured diagnostic interview. Questionnaires assessed self-reported work stressors and non-work stressors.

Results

The effects of work stressors on CMD were not explained by co-existing non-work stressors. We found independent effects of work and non-work stressors on CMD. Job stress, whether conceptualized as job strain or effort–reward imbalance, together with lower levels of social support at work, recent stressful life events, domestic violence, caring responsibilities, lower levels of non-work social support, debt and poor housing quality were all independently associated with CMD. Social support at home and debt did not influence the effect of work stressors on CMD.

Conclusions

Non-work stressors do not appear to make people more susceptible to work stressors; both contribute to CMD. Tackling workplace stress is likely to benefit employee psychological health even if the employee's home life is stressful but interventions incorporating non-work stressors may also be effective.

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Copyright

The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence . The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr C. Clark, Barts & the London School of Medicine & Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, Old Anatomy Building, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK. (Email: c.clark@qmul.ac.uk)

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Keywords

The contribution of work and non-work stressors to common mental disorders in the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey

  • C. Clark (a1), C. Pike (a1), S. McManus (a2), J. Harris (a2), P. Bebbington (a3), T. Brugha (a4), R. Jenkins (a5), H. Meltzer (a4), S. Weich (a6) and S. Stansfeld (a1)...

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