Personal care, restaurant industries have highest rates of depression

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WASHINGTON (AP) - People who tend to the elderly, change diapers
and serve up food and drinks have the highest rates of depression
among U.S. workers.
Overall, 7 percent of full-time workers battled depression in
the past year, according to a government report available Saturday.
Women were more likely than men to have had a major bout of
depression, and younger workers had higher rates of depression than
their older colleagues.
Almost 11 percent of personal care workers - which includes
child care and helping the elderly and severely disabled with their
daily needs - reported depression lasting two weeks or longer.
During such episodes there is loss of interest and pleasure, and
at least four other symptoms surface, including problems with
sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.
Workers who prepare and serve food - cooks, bartenders, waiters
and waitresses - had the second highest rate of depression among
full-time employees at 10.3 percent.
In a tie for third were health care workers and social workers
at 9.6 percent.
The lowest rate of depression, 4.3 percent, occurred in the job
category that covers engineers, architects and surveyors.
Government officials tracked depression within 21 major
occupational categories. They combined data from 2004 through 2006
to estimate episodes of depression within the past year. That
information came from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health,
which registers lifetime and past-year depression bouts.
Depression leads to $30 billion to $44 billion in lost
productivity annually, said the report from the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration. The report was available
Saturday on the agency's Web site at
The various job categories tracked could be quite broad, with
employees grouped in the same category seemingly having little in
For example, one category included workers in the arts, media,
entertainment and sports. In the personal care category, a worker
caring for toddlers at a daycare center would have quite a
different job from a nursing aide who helps an older person live at
home rather than in a nursing home.
Just working full-time would appear to be beneficial in
preventing depression. The overall rate of depression for full-time
workers, 7 percent, compares with the 12.7 percent rate registered
by those who are unemployed.
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(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-13-07 1458EDT