Occupations and the prevalence of major depressive disorder

J Occup Med. 1990 Nov;32(11):1079-87. doi: 10.1097/00043764-199011000-00006.


The prevalence of depression has rarely been studied in a manner permitting comparisons across a range of occupations. This analysis reveals considerable range in prevalence in 104 occupations of major depressive disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (ed 3), and measured by the National Institute of Mental Health's Diagnostic Interview Schedule. Five occupations had prevalence rates above 10%. When adjusted for sociodemographic factors, three occupations yield prevalences with statistically significant elevations in the rate, compared with employed persons generally. The three are lawyers, with an odds ratio of 3.6; other teachers and counselors, with an odds ratio of 2.8; and secretaries, with an odds ratio of 1.9. Exploration of possible sources of these differences concludes the paper.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computers
  • Counseling
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Teaching