Background: Population-based studies on the association between work stress and mental disorders are scarce, and it is not known whether work stress predicts mental disorders requiring treatment.
Aims: To examine the associations of work stress with DSM-IV mental disorders and subsequent antidepressant medication.
Methods: 3366 participants from a representative sample of the Finnish working population responded to a survey (The Health 2000 Study). 12-month prevalence of depressive or anxiety disorders was examined with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Data on antidepressant prescriptions with a 3-year follow-up period were collected from a nationwide register of Social Insurance Institution.
Results: In men and women, high job demands, low job control and high job strain were associated with 12-month prevalence of depressive or anxiety disorders. After adjustment for lifetime and baseline mental disorders, men with high job demands and high job strain had increased risk of future antidepressant medication.
Conclusions: Work stress is associated with mental disorders among both sexes and among men it is a risk factor for mental disorders treated with antidepressant medication.