Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Revealed: the jobs that are most often linked to depression

office stunt creativity.jpg

Stress, unpredictable hours, little to no control over your own targets; all things often to blame when a job makes you miserable.

However some jobs in particular are more likely to make you prone to depression than others – and they might not be the ones you expect.

In a recent study, researchers explored the links between depression and different sectors of work, evaluating 55 industries across a range of criteria, including psychological distress, work stress, and physical activity in the workplace.

Read more: These are the countries with the world's happiest workers

The results were surprising.

Writing in their report, which was published on NCBI, researchers explained that people who work in “service industries which require frequent or complex interactions with the public or clients” are more likely to have symptoms of depression.

People who work with the public are more prone to depression, claim researchers

People who work with the public are more prone to depression, claim researchers

“This supports the theory that the stress of emotional labour could contribute to depression,” they added.

For Arlie Hochschild – author of 1983’s The Managed Heart – emotional labour is “the work done with feelings, as part of paid employment”.

“People in many of the personal service occupations – such as airline stewardesses, waitresses, bartenders, and such like – are paid to 'sell their emotions',” he insists.

Read more: The new work rules that are proven to make a happier and harmonious office

The theory of emotional labour being linked to depression is not necessarily a new one.

In 2014, data collected in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology unveiled the 17 jobs which are most often linked to depression.

Industries which require workers to regularly interact with clients or members of the public featured heavily on the list, with estate agents, social workers, housekeepers, and retail workers all making an appearance.

The full list of the most depression-prone jobs includes:

  1. Transportation driver
  2. Estate agent
  3. Social worker
  4. Manufacturer
  5. Personal services
  6. Legal services
  7. Housekeeper
  8. Membership organisations
  9. Security and commodities brokers
  10. Printing and publishing
  11. Agricultural services
  12. Retail
  13. Electric, gas, and sanitary
  14. Special trade contractors
  15. Petroleum and coal
  16. General merchandise retail
  17. Auto repair

The jobs which require workers to put on a show – to smile, to make small talk, and to massage the egos of others on a regular basis – are the most damaging to mental health.

However scientists have suggested that more research needs to be conducted into jobs from other sectors, to see the role that work-related stress, as well as lengthened periods of physical inactivity, could also be contributors to depression.

Images: iStock



5 simple ways to manage the stress of modern life

woman at work.jpg

Revealed: the most profitable second languages that we need to learn


How to indulge your love of staying in without causing offence



The Department of Education reveals how much less it pays women

And teachers have responded

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Jun 2017

Golden rules of work happiness from Europe’s female tech leaders

From nap rooms to therapists and no overtime

by Anna Brech
22 Jun 2017

How hot does it have to get before you can legally go home from work?

As temperatures climb, it’s time to talk about your rights

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jun 2017

Are you self-employed? These newsletters will help your business bloom

On-point emails packed with entrepreneurial tips

by Anna Brech
15 Jun 2017

How changing your name on your CV can boost career success

No deed poll required

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Jun 2017

This nanny job pays £50,000 – but you have to live in a haunted house

So… do you see dead people?

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Jun 2017

Annie Mac nails why maternity leave can be so difficult for many women

“It’s always weird when someone else does your job”

12 Jun 2017

The surprising way being friends with co-workers affects your career

Work wives, assemble

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 Jun 2017

Laptop with a view: how getting closer to nature fuels creativity

Fire up your imagination by heading outdoors

by Anna Brech
08 Jun 2017

Borrow Amazon’s ‘pizza rule’ for more productive meetings

Napkins at the ready...

by Anna Brech
08 Jun 2017