Saf Health Work.  2021 Mar;12(1):96-101. 10.1016/

Is Work Hour Mismatch Associated with Depression?

  • 1Department of Public Health, Graduate School, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2Institute of Health Services Research, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 4Department of Biostatistics, Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul, Republic of Korea


Many studies have reported noticeable increases in the proportion of employees working either relatively short or relatively long hours. Such trends have been accompanied by an increasing concern regarding work hour mismatches defined as a discrepancy between actual and preferred work hours. The aim of this study was to investigate association between work hour mismatch and depression.
Data regarding work hour mismatches for 47,551 adults were extracted from the 2017 Korean Working Conditions Survey. The World Health Organization-Five Well-Being Index was used to measure depression. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the association between work hour mismatch and depression.
Men and women workers with work hour mismatch were more likely to have depression [underemployed males: odds ratio (OR) = 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.14–1.49, overemployed males: OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.18–1.40; underemployed females: OR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.20–1.56, overemployed females: OR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.02–1.23]. Underemployed workers, workers who worked more than 52 hours per week, and workers with a high income level, all had higher ORs for depression. The greater the discrepancy between actual and preferred work hours, the higher OR for depression among both underemployed and overemployed workers.
A difference between actual and preferred work hours was associated with depression. Underemployed workers had a higher risk of depression than that of overemployed workers. As a work hour mismatch negatively affected workers' mental health, it is important to reduce work hours mismatches as well as shorten the absolute number of work hours.


Depression; Overemployed; Underemployed; Work hours mismatch
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