Anxiety Levels Highest at Mid Management in Workplace
Written by Editor   
Monday, September 21, 2015 08:23 AM

In the hierarchy of the workplace, it is those in the middle, not necessarily the bottom, particularly supervisors, who show the highest levels of anxiety and, to a lesser degree, depression, new research suggests.

Research has shown an increased risk for mental and physical illness among those in lower socioeconomic classes and in the lower ranks of the workplace. However, some evidence suggests a higher risk of internalizing disorders, such as depression and anxiety, in middle social ranks, where employees can face unique pressures with regard to job responsibilities and control, compared with lower or higher ranks.

To better evaluate the theory, the researchers evaluated data on 21,859 fulltime workers who were respondents in the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a nationally representative survey of the US population aged 18 years and older who were interviewed in person.

They identified respondents in three categories: business owners identified as self-employed and earning more than $71,500; managers and supervisors who held executive, administrative, or managerial positions; and workers of various occupations, including farmers and laborers.

They found that in estimates of lifetime and 12-month depression and anxiety, workers in positions in the middle socioeconomic classes, particularly supervisors, had significantly higher levels of anxiety compared with workers in lower and higher classes.

The prevalence of all disorders was higher among supervisors than among lower-ranking workers, with higher odds of lifetime depression, lifetime anxiety, 12-month depression , and 12-month anxiety.

Managers had the next highest levels in terms of all disorders. Compared with lower-ranking workers, they had higher odds of lifetime depression and lifetime anxiety.

Compared with those above them ― business owners in the private sector ― supervisors had the highest odds of lifetime depression and 12-month depression, and they had much higher odds of lifetime anxiety and 12-month anxiety.