Occupational position and its relation to mental distress in a random sample of Danish residents

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

PURPOSE: To analyze the distribution of depressive, anxiety, and somatization symptoms across different occupational positions in a random sample of Danish residents. METHODS: The study sample consisted of 591 Danish residents (50% women), aged 20-65, drawn from an age- and gender-stratified random sample of the Danish population. Participants filled out a survey that included the 92 item version of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL-92). We categorized occupational position into seven groups: high- and low-grade non-manual workers, skilled and unskilled manual workers, high- and low-grade self-employed, and unemployed. RESULTS: Compared to the reference group of high-grade non-manual workers, the depressive symptom score was statistically significantly elevated among unskilled manual workers (P = 0.043) and the unemployed (P < 0.001), after adjustment for age, gender, cohabitation, life events, and low household income. The anxiety symptom score was elevated only among the unemployed (P = 0.004). The somatization symptom score was elevated among unskilled manual workers (P = 0.002), the low-grade self-employed (P = 0.023), and the unemployed (P = 0.001). When we analyzed caseness of severe symptoms, we found that unskilled manual workers (OR = 3.27, 95% CI = 1.06-10.04) and the unemployed (OR = 6.20, 95% CI = 1.98-19.42) had a higher prevalence of severe depressive symptoms, compared to the reference group of high-grade non-manual workers. The unemployed also had a higher prevalence of severe somatization symptoms (OR = 6.28, 95% CI = 1.39-28.46). CONCLUSIONS: Unskilled manual workers, the unemployed, and, to a lesser extent, the low-grade self-employed showed an increased level of mental distress. Activities to promote mental health in the Danish population should be directed toward these groups.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)625-9
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Adult; Anxiety; Denmark; Female; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders; Middle Aged; Occupational Exposure; Questionnaires; Social Class; Stress, Psychological; Workplace; Young Adult

ID: 23373070