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Negative Indicators of Mental Health

Burnout and depressive symptoms in the focus of research

Burnout and depressive symptoms are particularly relevant for the world of work as they endanger employees' performance capacity and ability to work.

There are considerable research deficits on the relation between work and negative indicators of mental health - despite their great importance in causing incapacity to work and transitions to disability pensions. 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. Likewise, it is largely unclear which work conditions have a protective effect, that is reduce negative consequences for mental health. So far, there is a lack of suitable data from longitudinal studies to answer these questions with regard to the working population in Germany.

Work and depression

According to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, the burnout syndrome is not a mental disease. It ranks among "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 in particular show a connection to the amount of work demands.

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

The goal of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) 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