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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


CORTES, Immaculada; ARTAZCOZ, Lucía; RODRIGUEZ-SANZ, Mayca  and  BORRELL, Carme. Inequalities in mental health in the working population. Gac Sanit [online]. 2004, vol.18, n.5, pp.351-359. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objectives: To analyze inequalities in mental health in the working population by gender and professional qualifications and to identify psychosocial risk factors and employment conditions related to the mental health of this population. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study using data from the Barcelona Health Survey 2000. The working population aged 16-64 years (2322 men and 1836 women) was included. Mental health was measured with the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated by means of multivariate logistic regression models separated by job qualifications and gender. Results: The prevalence of poor mental health ranged from 8% among men working in non-manual occupations to 19% in women working in manual jobs. Women were more likely to report poor mental health status than men, although sex differences were greater among manual workers (aOR = 2.26; 95%CI, 1.68-3.05 for women compared to men in the same group). Differences according to qualifications were found among women only (aOR = 1.58 [95%CI, 1.22-2.05] for women working in manual jobs compared to those working in non-manual jobs), while no differences were found among men according to qualifications. Psychosocial risk factors were associated with mental health: demand was associated in all groups, autonomy only in non-manual occupations, and social support only in the most highly qualified working women. Employment conditions such as working a split shift (working day with a long lunch break) or having a temporary contract were associated with mental health in manual occupations only. Conclusions: Mental health among the working population is related to professional qualifications and gender. Women are at greater risk than men, especially those working in manual occupations. Psychosocial occupational factors are related to mental health status, showing different patterns depending on gender and professional qualifications.

Keywords : Mental health; Psychosocial factors; Social class; Gender; Occupational health.

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