COMPARING ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WORKERS WITH OTHERS IN EMPLOYMENT: A UK BIOBANK COHORT STUDY
D. Lalloo, J. Lewsey, S. V. Katikireddi, E. B. Macdonald, D. Campbell, E. Demou
University of Glasgow, UK
While psychological hazards of IT work and work-related stress have been widely reported, there is a paucity of formal research on common mental health conditions in IT workers.
We investigated self-reported mental health outcomes and incident anxiety/depression in IT workers compared to others in employment in a large population-based cohort.
We evaluated self-reported mental health outcomes in the UK Biobank cohort and incident diagnosed anxiety/depression through health record linkage. We used logistic regression and Cox models to compare the risks of prevalent and incident anxiety/depression among IT workers with all other employed participants.
Of 112,399 participants analysed, 4,093 (3.6%) were IT workers. IT workers had a 34% reduced odds of anxiety/depression symptoms and were 13% less likely to have ever attended their GP for anxiety/depression, compared to all other employed participants, after adjustment for confounders. The IT technician subgroup were 22% and 31% more likely to have previously seen their GP or a psychiatrist for anxiety/depression than similar comparable occupational groups, respectively. Self-reported loneliness was higher in IT professionals and technicians compared to IT managers and workers with similar occupational classifications. IT workers had lower incident anxiety/depression (HR=0.84, 95%CI 0.77-0.93) compared to all other employed participants, after adjustment for confounders.
Our findings from this, the largest to date IT worker mental health study and the first longitudinal study, set the benchmark in our understanding of IT worker mental health and identification of high-risk groups. This can help target and inform mental health workplace interventions.