No backing – Lack of workplace support associated with depression
A lack of workplace support is associated with depression, says new research.
“Respondents who reported low levels of support from colleagues had twice the likelihood of having significant depression symptoms compared to those who report[ed] having support,” says the study, The Relationship between Work Characteristics, Wellbeing, Depression and Workplace Bullying.
“Consistent with the association between support from colleagues and depression, low levels of support from one’s manager was also associated with significantly higher risk of depression symptoms.”
The study shows that the risk of depression also appears to be affected by relational justice: superiors who provide consistent and sufficient information, who are willing to listen to problems and who provide criticism or praise.
The study reveals “a pattern of increasing risk of depression with declining levels of relational justice, with those reporting the poorest organisational culture showing significantly greater risk of depression compared to those reporting the best organisational culture”.
Workplace bullying was also associated with increased incidence of depression.
But the report notes, “It is not just the experience of depression symptoms that is seen to be elevated among those who experience workplace bullying.”
Suicidal thoughts are also more likely in those who are currently being bullied at work. They are “about twice as likely as those never bullied to report feeling that their life is hardly worth living, report feeling that they would be better off dead, and report that they had thought of taking their own life”, the report states.
The findings are part of the Australian National University’s Personality & Total Health (PATH) Through Life Project longitudinal study, which began in 1999.
The latest results are from interviews conducted in 2011–2012 with workers who were then aged between 32 and 36 years.
For help and support, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For more details on the study, visit Safe Work Australia.