New research gives further evidence that the type of job is associated with the outcome of depression treatments. The report, which was published in European Neuropsychopharmacology, suggest that depressed people with essential positions at work do not respond well to mental health treatments.
“In everyday clinical practice, it is common to observe the burden of mentally demanding jobs in subjects who are treated for depression. In fact, for them it is more difficult to return to work when minor residual symptoms are present, which may lead to slower recovery,” explained the study head author Alessandro Serretti, a professor of biomedical and neuromotor sciences at the University of Bologna.
“Let’s imagine a company manager who has to quickly decide the pros and cons of many decisions to take if your concentration is not completely back this becomes a painful situation.”
According to the study of 647 working adults diagnosed with major depressive disorder, experts discovered that those with high-status jobs performed poorly to treatment. The study involved 46 managers, 476 white-collar workers, 74 blue-collar workers, and 51 self-employed people.
The report showed that managers had the worst response to treatments for depression, although blue-collar workers had the best return — even after accounting for gender, age, education, and the type of treatment received. Experts claim seventy percent of managers described having no response to two or more programs, opposed to 45% of blue-collar workers and 58% of white-collar workers.
The Journal European Neuropsychopharmacology in 2016, reported findings similar to the results of a previous study.
“It appears that people in high occupational levels respond with greater difficulty to treatment for major depression,” the authors wrote in a review published in the Psychological Medicine. “The reasons for this effect are not established, but we can speculate that the stress factors in the workplace play a significant role.”
Serretti claims the findings suggest that “when suffering from depression, you should take your time to go back to your working activities, especially if they are mentally demanding.”
Experts are still unclear why having a high position is associated with a weak response to treatments for depression and mental health. However high workload, pressure, competition, social isolation at work and poor work-life balance could all be a factor. Future research could also examine the part of personality, family support, and self-blame that could trigger the bad responses,
In fact, “this concept has been largely understudied,” Serretti concluded. “It is counterintuitive. Many think that higher status positions are usually related to better outcomes — but that is not always the case.”
The research, “High occupational level is associated with poor response to the treatment of depression: A replication study,“ was written by Laura Mandelli, Alessandro Serretti, Daniel Souery, Julien Mendlewicz, Siegfried Kasper, Stuart Montgomery, and Joseph Zohar.