As I looked through the 1,200 e-mail messages I accumulated during my vacation, I ran across this.
According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month, full-time workers ages 18 to 64 in the “personal care” and “service occupations” had the highest rates of depression, followed closely by food service. The survey used 2004-06 data to determine depression rates by occupation.
During this time, an annual average of 7 percent of full-time workers ages 18-64 experienced a “major depressive episode” in the past year.
For women, the highest rates of depression were in food preparation and service occupations — 14.8 percent. For men, the highest rates were in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media — 6.7 percent.
The unemployed had higher rates of depression than did those employed full time and part time.
U.S. companies lost an estimated $30 to $44 billion a year because of depression-related lost productivity, absenteeism and low morale, according to a press release on the study.
And, of course, depression rates vary by occupation and industry. Seems obvious, but it’s interesting to see research bear it out.
Occupations with the lowest rates of depression were engineering, architecture and surveying; life, physical and social sciences; and installation, maintenance and repair.
As this is a health care blog, 9.6 percent of health care practitioners and technical personnel reported being seriously depressed.
I have one observation to make on the men’s end: Many people wind up in arts-entertainment-media jobs straight out of college, with stars in their eyes. When they find out how little money they’ll make, and realize how incredibly competitive the job markets are, they get down.
Take, for example, a dream job as a trainer with a professional sports team. Now imagine having to deal with the debt of a master’s degree, frequent travel, little respect and a paltry salary. That’s just one example I’m personally familiar with.
Wanna talk? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer