Risk factors for depression in truck drivers

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2009 Feb;44(2):125-9. doi: 10.1007/s00127-008-0412-3. Epub 2008 Jul 19.


Objective: Depression is a major public health problem. Work stress is associated with depression and workers whose jobs impose high levels of psychological demands, such as truck drivers, may be at increased risk. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and correlates of depression in truck drivers.

Method: This was a cross-sectional study of 300 male truck drivers. Presence and severity of depression were assessed by the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview followed by the Beck Depression Inventory Short Form. Relevant demographic, clinical and occupational data were collected using a purpose-built questionnaire.

Results: The prevalence of depression among truck drivers was 13.6%. Multivariate analysis showed that being 45 years or older had a protective effect (OR=0.19; P=0.02), whereas low educational level (OR=3.03; P=0.01), use of stimulants (OR=5.03; P<0.01) and wage-earning (OR=2.84; P=0.01), as opposed to self-employment, increased the risk for depression.

Conclusions: Truck drivers are at increased risk for depression when compared to the general population. Efforts to increase awareness of this problem and to limit the use of stimulants, as well as measures to improve job satisfaction, particularly among the wage-earning drivers, may have a positive impact on mental health in these workers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Schedule Tolerance
  • Young Adult