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Occupations that may have elevated risks of depression

  • Blog Post by:
  • January 11, 2011 - 10:44 AM

An article on Hazelden's new treatment program for legal professionals addicted to alcohol or drugs, spurred some readers to ask what other types of jobs are linked to high risks for depression.

Johns Hopkins University researchers found in 1990 that lawyers were one of three professions to have "statistically significant elevations" in their rate for major depressive disorder. Lawyers had an odds ratio of 3.6, according to the study published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine.

The two other professional groups were pre-kindergarten teachers, special education teachers and counselors, with an odds ratio of 2.8, as well as secretaries with an odds ratio of 1.9, the study said.

The study said one theory is that jobs that allow workers to have more control over their environment and direction on the flow of work may lower the risk of depression.

The study collected data from about 3,000 people residing at five sites. Those labeled as having depression exhibited a period of two weeks or more of sadness, along with four or more changes or experiences in the following categories: "appetite, sleep, fatigue, slowing of bodily movements or thought, feeling worthless or sinful, loss of pleasure in something usually enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts, desires or attempts," the study said.

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