Comparing anxiety and depression in information technology workers with others in employment: a UK Biobank cohort study

Lalloo, D., Lewsey, J. , Katikireddi, S. V. , Macdonald, E. B. , Campbell, D. and Demou, E. (2022) Comparing anxiety and depression in information technology workers with others in employment: a UK Biobank cohort study. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, (doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxac061) (PMID:36029464) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Objectives: Despite reported psychological hazards of information technology (IT) work, studies of diagnosed mental health conditions in IT workers are lacking. 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. Methods: 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. Furthermore, we compared outcomes within IT worker subgroups, and between these subgroups and other similar occupations within their major Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) group. Results: Of 112 399 participants analyzed, 4093 (3.6%) were IT workers. At baseline, IT workers had a reduced odds (OR = 0.66, 95%CI: 0.52–0.85) of anxiety/depression symptoms and were less likely (OR = 0.87, 95%CI: 0.83–0.91) to have ever attended their GP for anxiety/depression, compared to all other employed participants, after adjustment for confounders. The IT technician subgroup were more likely (OR = 1.22, 95%CI: 1.07–1.40) to have previously seen their GP or a psychiatrist (OR = 1.31, 95%CI: 1.06–1.62) for anxiety/depression than their SOC counterparts. 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. Conclusions: Our findings from this, the first longitudinal study of IT worker mental health, set the benchmark in our understanding of the mental health of this growing workforce and identification of high-risk groups. This will have important implications for targeting mental health workplace interventions.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This study was conducted under generic UK Biobank approval from NHS National Research Ethics service (Ref 11/NW/ 0382), Application number 17333.
Keywords:Information technology workers, anxiety/depression, mental health, UK Biobank, computer professionals.
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Katikireddi, Professor Vittal and Campbell, Dr Desmond and MacDonald, Professor Ewan and Demou, Dr Evangelia and Lewsey, Professor Jim and Lalloo, Professor Drushca
Authors: Lalloo, D., Lewsey, J., Katikireddi, S. V., Macdonald, E. B., Campbell, D., and Demou, E.
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Annals of Work Exposures and Health
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:2398-7308
ISSN (Online):2398-7316
Published Online:27 August 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Annals of Work Exposures and Health 2022
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3048231Inequalities in healthAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/2HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
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