Working women are more likely to suffer job related stress than men, suggests a new study.
The new study from University of Melbourne has revealed that nearly 1 in every 5 Victorians working women suffer depression that can be attributed to job stress and more than one in eight or 13 per cent of the working men with depression have problems due to job stress.
The study led by Associate Professor Tony LaMontagne from the McCaughey Centre has found that nearly 21000 Victorians suffer depression due to high job demands and low control over how the job gets done (or 'job strain').
The researchers analysed job stress data collected from a 2003 survey of 1100 Victorian workers.
They found that working women were more likely to suffer depression than men, and job stress is more likely in lower skilled occupations.
The team later combined job stress exposure patterns with previous research, which showed that job stress doubles the risk of depression to estimate the proportion of depression caused by job stress among working people;
Moreover, by comparison, 30-times fewer workers receive workers' compensation for stress-related mental disorders, suggesting that workers' compensation statistics grossly under-represent the true extent of the problem.
Associate Professor LaMontagne said women and those in lower-skilled occupations are more likely to experience job stress, and so bear a greater share of job stress-related depression.
"This represents a substantial and inequitably distributed public health problem," said Associate Professor LaMontagne.
"The burden of mental illness in the general population follows a similar demographic pattern, suggesting that job stress is a substantial contributor to mental health inequalities," he said.
He said that solutions are available to address this problem.
"The evidence shows that improving job control, moderating demands, and providing more support from supervisors and co-workers makes a difference.
"Our hope is that a better understanding of the scale of this problem will lead to more support for employees, particularly for lower-skilled workers and working women," he added.
"Given so many people spend a large part of their day at work, we need to find the best ways workplaces can promote good health rather than cause health problems," Mr Todd Harper, VicHealth CEO said.