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Open Access Research article

Adverse psychosocial working conditions and minor psychiatric disorders among bank workers

Luiz S Silva12 and Sandhi M Barreto1*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

2 Banco do Brasil SA, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:686  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-686

Published: 10 November 2010

Abstract

Background

In most countries, the financial service sector has undergone great organizational changes in the past decades, with potential negative impact on bank workers' mental health. The aim of this paper is to estimate the prevalence of minor psychiatric disorders (MPD) among Brazilian bank workers and to investigate whether they are associated with an adverse psychosocial working environment.

Methods

A cross-sectional study of a random sample of 2,500 workers in a Brazilian state bank in 2008. The presence of MPD was determined by the General Health Questionnaire.(GHQ). Psychosocial work conditions were assessed by means of the Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) and Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). The presence and magnitude of the independent associations between MPD and adverse psychosocial working conditions were determined by Prevalence Ratios, obtained by Poisson regression.

Results

From 2,337 eligible workers, 88% participated. The prevalence of MPD was greater among women (45% vs. 41%; p > 0.05). In the multivariate analysis, the prevalence of MPD was twice as high among bank workers exposed to high psychological demand and low control at work and under high effort and low reward working conditions. The lack of social support at work and the presence of over-commitment were also associated with higher prevalence of MPD. A negative interaction effect was found between over-commitment and effort-reward imbalance.

Conclusion

The prevalence of MPD is high among bank workers. The results reinforce the association between MPD and adverse psychosocial working conditions, assessed by the JCQ and ERI models. The direction of the interaction observed between over-commitment and ERI was contrary to what was expected.