From Our 2007 Archives

Workers' Depression: 21 Fields Ranked

Depression Most Commonly Reported by Personal Care and Service Workers

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 16, 2007 -- Depression may be more common in some fields than others.

New research shows that people who work in personal care and services -- such as child care workers orhairdressers -- are more likely to report depression than engineers and architects.

So says the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Some 67,500 adults aged 18-64 participated in annual SAMHSA surveys from 2004 to 2006. They reported their job status and whether they had been depressed for at least two weeks in the last year.

Overall, 8.6% of participants had been depressed in the past year. They include:

  • 7% of full-time workers
  • 9.3% of part-time workers
  • 12.7% of unemployed people
  • 12.7% of retirees, homemakers, disabled people, and others not in the paid workforce

Depressed Workers

Depression was most commonly reported by personal care and service workers and least commonly reported by engineers, architects, and surveyors.

Depressed full-time workers tended to be young (18-25). Depression was more commonly reported by women than men.

Here are the percentages of full-time workers in each field who reported being depressed in the past year. Fields with the same percentage of depressed full-time workers are ranked together.

  1. Personal care and service: 10.8%
  2. Food preparation and serving: 10.3%
  3. Community/social services and health care: 9.6%
  4. Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media: 9.1%
  5. Education, training, and library: 8.7%
  6. Office and administrative support: 8.1%
  7. Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance: 7.3%
  8. Financial and sales: 6.7%
  9. Legal and transportation: 6.4%
  10. Mathematical and computer scientists: 6.2%
  11. Production: 5.9%
  12. Management: 5.8%
  13. Farming, fishing, and forestry: 5.6%
  14. Protective service (includes police and firefighters): 5.5%
  15. Construction: 4.8%
  16. Installation, maintenance, repair, sciences: 4.4%
  17. Engineering, architecture, and surveyors: 4.3%

The report appears in SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report.

Depression Symptoms

Depression is common and treatable. The first steps are recognizing the signs and seeking help.

People with major depression may experience five or more of the following depression symptoms for at least two weeks:

  • Persistent sadness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, including sex
  • Difficulty concentrating and complaints of poor memory
  • Worsening of coexisting chronic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue, lack of energy
  • Anxiety, agitation, irritability
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Slow speech; slow movements
  • Headache, stomachache, and digestive problems

Not sure if you've crossed the line from feeling a little blue into major depression? Don't hesitate to ask your doctor. Seek immediate help if you or a loved one is having suicidal thoughts.

SOURCES: Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: The National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report, Oct. 11, 2007. U.S. Department of Labor: "Standard Occupational Classification." WebMD Medical Reference: "Understanding Depression -- Symptoms." News release, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

© 2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.




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