Difficult co-workers and awful working atmosphere leads to poor team spirit, which, in turn, increases the risk of developing depression by more than half, according to a Finnish study.
The study revealed that employees working in such atmosphere were 60 per cent more likely to be depressed, and 50 per cent more likely to use antidepressants.
Dr Marjo Sinokki, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, said that such "psycho-social" factors as "team climate" could be used to predict mental health.Poor team climate at work was associated with depressive disorders and predicted future antidepressant medication," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
For the study, he surveyed 3,347 Finnish employees aged between 30 and 64, and asked them about their perceptions of the working environment, including team spirit, the quality of communication, and their degree of job control or demands.
The participants were asked to rate their working environment according to four descriptions of the atmosphere in the workplace, including "encouraging and supportive of new ideas", "prejudiced and conservative", "nice and easy" or "quarrelsome and disagreeable".
They were also quizzed about their social lives, living arrangements and access to health services.
They were then diagnosed for depression, anxiety, and alcohol misuse.
The researchers even collected information on prescriptions for antidepressants over the following three years from a national register.
"One of the rarely studied psycho-social work characteristics with regard to mental health is team climate, considered to be a construct that refers to individuals' perceptions of the quality of communication in the work environment," Sinokki said.
"Organisational culture captures the way things are done in an organisation, and climate captures the way people perceive their immediate work environment."
"As these common mental disorders are a major cause of work disability and account for a considerable proportion of the disease burden more attention should be paid to psycho-social factors at work," he warned.
Although poor team spirit and depression were linked, there was no such association with alcohol misuse or anxiety.
The study has been published in the online journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.