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Surprising Science

Among Professionals, Bus Drivers Have Highest Rate of Depression

Think you've had a bad day? Well, consider your bus driver. A recent study shows that jobs where people interact more with the public and have less chance to move around have higher rates of depression.

Mental health has a great impact on job productivity, so any industry with a high rate of depression would want to know, right? Joe Pinsker from The Atlantic writes on a new study that took individuals from various industries and found which one had the highest cases of depression.

The study was published in the journal of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epistemologyjust last month. The researchers took 214,413 individuals employed in the western part of Pennsylvania during 2002 to 2005. Out of all these people, whose professions were grouped into 55 different industries, they found the highest rate of depression were among bus drivers (16.2 percent) and the lowest “among amusement and recreation services” (6.9 percent). The latter of which is a broad definition for one group, but includes people that work in fitness, sports, and the arts.

Pinsker points out that there are some similar characteristics between jobs with higher rates of depression than those with lower rates. Individuals that hold jobs where chance for physical activity is low and interaction with the public is high tend to have a more cases of mental illness, such as public transit, real estate, social work, and manufacturing. Whereas positions with more movement throughout the day and little contact with the public, like in recreational services (i.e. dance teachers), highway construction, and coal mining have significantly lower rates of depression (between 6 and 8 percent).

Next time you hop on the bus to or from work, maybe give your driver a “how do you do?” or appreciative “thank you” when you get on or off the bus. It may help make their day a little brighter. However, this study should also give people who work in these industries something to consider if they’ve felt a significant dip in their mood.

Read more at The Atlantic

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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