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Negative Indicators of Mental Health

Burnout and depressive symptoms are in the focus of research here.

Burnout and depressive symptoms are particularly relevant for the world of work because they endanger employees' performance capacity and workability.

There are considerable research deficits on the connection between work and the negative indicators of mental health - and this despite their great importance as a cause of working days lost because of incapacity to work and transitions to a disability pension. In 2015, mental disorders caused over 16 per cent of total sickness-related absences.

At the same time, depression is among the most frequent single diagnoses among mental disorders in the case of disability pensions, and the third most frequent single diagnosis of all diagnoses in the case of days lost through incapacity to work.

Gaps in knowledge

Up to now, there has been insufficient research into the conditions at work that impair mental health. Which work conditions have a protective effect, that is reduce the negative consequences for mental health, is largely unclear as well. Up to now there have not been suitable data from long-term studies to answer these questions for the working population in Germany.

Work and depression

Globally, depression is among the leading causes of the disease burden. It is a risk factor for reduced workability and premature departure from working life. Employees can fall victim to depression, or existing depressive symptoms can be intensified through unfavourable mental and psychosocial work requirements.

Work and burnout

According to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, the burnout syndrome is not a mental disease. It is one of the "problems with regard to difficulties in coping with life" and describes a state of exhaustion. The latter is the consequence of high stress and work overload. In spite of this, burnout is dealt with as a widespread disease. Empirical examinations of the burnout syndrome show in particular a connection to the amount of work demands.

BAuA's research goals

BAuA's goal is to study the connection between psychosocial work conditions, burnout and depressive symptoms on the basis of representative data (F 2250 / F 2384) on the working population. Protective factors and risk factors are to be identified. The focus is on the examination of the cause-effect relation between psychosocial work conditions and mental health.

Research Projects