The AP reports that seven percent of full-time workers battled depression in 2006. The study was conducted by the NSDUH, which just goes to show you that someone in Washington DC has a sense of humor when creating a taxpayer-funded group to research and publish obvious data about workplace substance abuse.
Here’s a finding that I especially enjoyed reading:
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.
Working women (& working mothers) earn less money than their male counterparts (they do). Corporations are structuring compensation plans so that younger workers earn less money than their predecessors (they are). Younger workers and working women are earning less money today than in the 90s due to wage stagnation. With economic pressures linked so closely to societal pressures, the rate of depression discovered in the NSDUH study seems a little off in my totally non-scientific opinion.
Furthermore, the findings in the NSDUH study suggest that depression is most common in jobs such as childcare, home health care, and food service workers. Those aforementioned jobs are often outsourced commodities that are staffed by young adults and women — constituencies who are underrepresented by unions and employee advocates. These are also constituencies who are examined in the book, The Missing Class. Workers in the missing class lack affordable, comprehensive health care and educational resources. A lack of health care could impede a diagnosis of depression and throw off the NSDUH study’s findings.
So I’m just saying that — in a very long way and without any data to support my gut-feeling — the 7% number seems a little low.