You're not imagining it: Working weekends really is linked to depression.


You’re not imagining it. Weekend work really is linked to depression, according to a UK study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 

To set the scene, of the more than 11,000 men and 12,000 women interviewed, almost half of the women worked less than 35 hours a week, while the majority of men worked longer hours.

Half of the women in the study worked weekends, compared to two-thirds of men.

It was found that men working less than a ‘standard’ working week of 35-40 hours a week had increased levels of depression. Women however were the opposite – they had a greater risk when they worked more than 55 hours a week.

Sidenote: The best time of day to get everything done at work, according to your body clock.

Video by MMC

Men had more depressive symptoms working weekends when they also disliked their working conditions. Women just didn’t like weekend work. They were far more likely to have depressive symptoms than those who just worked weekdays.

Within both genders, the symptoms were said to be higher for older workers, smokers, anyone in more physical jobs, and those with low socio-economic incomes.

The study also suggested that those who work weekends, have higher levels of emotional exhaustion and job stress.

Interestingly, a similar study was done in France, and those researchers found no link between weekend working and depressive symptoms, but their parameters for determining what ‘weekend work was’ weren’t quite as specific.


The UK researchers think the pressures of working against social and labour force norms might explain the results of their survey. Basically, workers getting FOMO because they are working odd hours to the majority of their friends and families.

They also think men’s depression working shorter weeks could in some cases, be linked to health challenges. Women’s depression linked to long work weeks, it was suggested, might also be linked to the fact women generally feel more acutely the burden of responsibility at home. Aka, the emotional labour of running a household.

What do you think. Does weekend work make you more depressed? Tell us in the comments below.

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