Project 078

Project Title:

Job stress and mental health status: the relationship between the number of hours per week spent working, current health status and accumulated prescriptions for symptoms of depression or symptoms of heart disease.


Dr Dermot O’Reilly and Dr Michael Rosato


Queen’s University Belfast and University of Ulster



Project Summary:

In NILS project 060 (‘Worked to death..’), researchers (DOR & MR) examined the mortality associated with numbers of hours spent working for those in full-time employment, as recorded at the 2001 Census of Northern Ireland. A paper reporting the results has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Epidemiology (impact factor=6.98), and it has also stimulated a meta-analysis of 17 international cohorts to confirm the modification of the relationship between long working hours and cardiovascular disease by occupational class.

However, the mechanism whereby long working hours may influence ill-health is not entirely clear and one of the leading contenders is reduced mental health, perhaps due to an imbalance between effort and reward or the presence of job strain.

The aims of this study are two-fold:

(i)  To examine the relationship between long working hours and poor mental health as evidenced by use of psychotropic medications; and

(ii) To  examine the relationship between long working hours and cardiovascular disease as evidenced by use of medications for cardiovascular conditions


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