A recent UK study into depression and occupations has found that being a bus driver is the job with the highest depression rates. Real estate agents (surprisingly) and social workers make up the top three.
The study’s authors explain that the stress of emotional labour, i.e. frequently having to manage your emotions and keep them under control day after day, which you have to do in a public service role, contributes to depression.
Within the top 10 list, the service industries which require frequent or complex interactions with the public or clients are disproportionately represented.
The remainder of the top 10 depressing jobs are:
- Personal services such as hairdressing
- Legal services
- Membership organisations
- Security and commodities brokers
- Printing and publishing
In dealing with the general public, where there is high interpersonal conflict, there tends to be higher depression rates. The authors cite that “industries with the highest depression tended to be industries that had more interpersonal conflict and encounters with difficult people”.
Apart from conflict the other major attributes of depressing jobs that induce depression are:
- Having low levels of control over your work.
- There being little physical activity during work.
- High levels of work/family conflict.
- Much effort for little reward ie high stress and low pay.
These are interesting findings by the study first published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (Wulsin et al., 2014) and reproduced in the excellent Psyblog journal (www.spring.org.uk)
The study of mental toughness has an important role to play here. If poor emotional management is a factor in depression for people working within these public facing occupations, especially those with some level of conflict, then the MTQ48 mental toughness psychometric measure could be used to determine whether someone is more or less able to manage their emotions without stress. A mentally tough person will be able to cope more easily achieving greater levels of both performance and wellbeing.
To learn more on measuring and developing mental toughness contact Mental Toughness Partners