Chronic Overworking: Cause Extremely Negative Impact on Health and Quality of Life

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Work is an action that organizes and provides meaning to the use of time in a society that has programmed its rhythms as a function. It is important in structuring daily life and in enabling a sense of continuity, provides capital, satisfaction that flourishing human life and his family. What’s more, it is an antidote against boredom and emptiness. But it also means we never really clock out while working and become too much workaholic. The persistent overwork has extremely negative impacts on our health, happiness, and overall quality of life. Nowadays working overtime has become the norm for most people. It is one of those things everyone knows is bad for us, but no one really listens. Imbalance between work and health or overwork not only bad for employees but also for employers. The long working in the office or at home is bad for our health and our performance at work. A person who expands more time in work may experience numerous health problems including mental, physical and social problems. The Significant effects include stress, lack of free time, poor work-life balance, relation hit and serious health risks lead to tiredness, fatigue, obesity, lack of attentiveness, insomnia, depression, diabetes, high BP, Cerebrocardiovascular problem, etc.

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Background: Long working hours might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but prospective evidence is scarce, imprecise, and mostly limited to coronary heart disease. We aimed to assess long working hours as a risk factor for incident coronary heart disease and stroke. / Methods: We identified published studies through a systematic review of PubMed and Embase from inception to Aug 20, 2014. We obtained unpublished data for 20 cohort studies from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations (IPD-Work) Consortium and open-access data archives. We used cumulative random-effects meta-analysis to combine effect estimates from published and unpublished data. / Findings: We included 25 studies from 24 cohorts in Europe, the USA, and Australia. The meta-analysis of coronary heart disease comprised data for 603 838 men and women who were free from coronary heart disease at baseline; the meta-analysis of stroke comprised data for 528 908 men and women who were free from stroke at baseline. Follow-up for coronary heart disease was 5·1 million person-years (mean 8·5 years), in which 4768 events were recorded, and for stroke was 3·8 million person-years (mean 7·2 years), in which 1722 events were recorded. In cumulative meta-analysis adjusted for age, sex, and socioeconomic status, compared with standard hours (35–40 h per week), working long hours (≥55 h per week) was associated with an increase in risk of incident coronary heart disease (relative risk [RR] 1·13, 95% CI 1·02–1·26; p=0·02) and incident stroke (1·33, 1·11–1·61; p=0·002). The excess risk of stroke remained unchanged in analyses that addressed reverse causation, multivariable adjustments for other risk factors, and different methods of stroke ascertainment (range of RR estimates 1·30–1·42). We recorded a dose–response association for stroke, with RR estimates of 1·10 (95% CI 0·94–1·28; p=0·24) for 41–48 working hours, 1·27 (1·03–1·56; p=0·03) for 49–54 working hours, and 1·33 (1·11–1·61; p=0·002) for 55 working hours or more per week compared with standard working hours (ptrend<0·0001). / Interpretation: Employees who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours; the association with coronary heart disease is weaker. These findings suggest that more attention should be paid to the management of vascular risk factors in individuals who work long hours. / Funding: Medical Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, European Union New and Emerging Risks in Occupational Safety and Health research programme, Finnish Work Environment Fund, Swedish Research Council for Working Life and Social Research, German Social Accident Insurance, Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Academy of Finland, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Netherlands), US National Institutes of Health, British Heart Foundation.
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This paper assesses the impact of working less than or more than standard full-time hours on mental health, as well as possible differences in this relationship by gender and skill level. The study design was a longitudinal cohort with 12 annual waves of data collection over the period 2001-2012, yielding a sample of 90 637 observations from 18 420 people. Fixed effects within-person regression was used to control for time invariant confounding. The Mental Component Summary of the Short Form 36 (SF-36) measure was used as the primary outcome measure. Working hours over the preceding year was measured in five categories with standard full-time hours (35-40 h/week) as the reference. Results indicated that when respondents were working 49-59 h (-0.52, 95% CI -0.74 to -0.29, p<0.001) and 60 h or more (-0.47, 95% CI -0.77 to -0.16, p=0.003) they had worse mental health than when they were working 35-40 h/week (reference). The difference in mental health when working 49-59 h was greater for women than for men. There were greater declines in mental health in relation to longer working hours among persons in higher compared to lower occupational skill levels. Study results suggest the need for employers and governments to regulate working hours to reduce the burden of mental ill health in the working population. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
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Objective: This study attempted to use the community health survey (CHS) to identify the effect of long working hours (long WHs) and night/shift work on suicidal ideation among the employed population of Korea. Methods: This study used data from 67,471 subjects who were administered the 2008 CHS which obtained information regarding sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors and working environment, using structured questionnaires and personal interviews. We adopted multiple logistic regression models for gender and employment stratification. Results: Among male employees, suicidal ideation was significantly associated with only moderately long WHs (51-60 hours), after controlling covariates (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.30; 95% confidence interval [95%CI], 1.07 to 1.57). Self-employed/male employer populations had higher suicidal ideation when they had moderately long WHs (aOR, 1.23; 95%CI, 1.01 to 1.50) and very long WHs (over 60 hours) (aOR, 1.31; 95%CI, 1.08 to 1.59). Among the female population, suicidal ideation was significantly association with moderately long WHs in the employee group (aOR, 1.31; 95%CI, 1.08 to 1.58) and moderately (aOR, 1.35; 95%CI, 1.08 to 1.69) and very (aOR, 1.33; 95%CI, 1.07 to 1.65) long WHs in the self-employed/employer group. Shift work was a significant predictor only in the female population in the employee groups (aOR, 1.45; 95%CI, 1.23 to 1.70). Conclusions: Long WHs and shift work were associated with suicidal ideation when taking into account gender and employment differences. The harmful effects of exceptionally long WHs in Korea, among other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, raise concerns about public and occupational health. To address the issue of long WHs, labor policies that reduce maximum working hours and facilitate job stability are needed.(J Occup Health 2015; 57: 222-229).
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There has been an increasing interest in the health effects of long working hours, but little empirical evidence to substantiate early case series suggesting an increased mortality risk. The aim of the current study is to quantify the mortality risk associated with long working hours and to see if this varies by employment relations and conditions of occupation. A census-based longitudinal study of 414 949 people aged 20-59/64 years, working at least 35 h/week, subdivided into four occupational classes (managerial/professional, intermediate, own account workers, workers in routine occupations) with linkage to deaths records over the following 8.7 years. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine all-cause and cause-specific mortality risk. Overall 9.4% of the cohort worked 55 or more h/week, but this proportion was greater in the senior management and professional occupations and in those who were self-employed. Analysis of 4447 male and 1143 female deaths showed that hours worked were associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality only for men working for more than 55 or more h/week in routine/semi-routine occupations [adjusted hazard ratios (adjHR) 1.31: 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11, 1.55] compared with their peers working 35-40 h/week. Their equivalent risk of death from cardiovascular disease was (adjHR 1.49: 95% CI 1.10, 2.00). These findings substantiate and add to the earlier studies indicating the deleterious impact of long working hours but also suggest that the effects are moderated by employment relations or conditions of occupation. The policy implications of these findings are discussed.
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The authors aggregated the results of observational studies examining the association between long working hours and coronary heart disease (CHD). Data sources used were MEDLINE (through January 19, 2011) and Web of Science (through March 14, 2011). Two investigators independently extracted results from eligible studies. Heterogeneity between the studies was assessed using the I2 statistic, and the possibility of publication bias was assessed using the funnel plot and Egger's test for small-study effects. Twelve studies were identified (7 case-control, 4 prospective, and 1 cross-sectional). For a total of 22,518 participants (2,313 CHD cases), the minimally adjusted relative risk of CHD for long working hours was 1.80 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.42, 2.29), and in the maximally (multivariate-) adjusted analysis the relative risk was 1.59 (95% CI: 1.23, 2.07). The 4 prospective studies produced a relative risk of 1.39 (95% CI: 1.12, 1.72), while the corresponding relative risk in the 7 case-control studies was 2.43 (95% CI: 1.81, 3.26). Little evidence of publication bias but relatively large heterogeneity was observed. Studies varied in size, design, measurement of exposure and outcome, and adjustments. In conclusion, results from prospective observational studies suggest an approximately 40% excess risk of CHD in employees working long hours.
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Background Although long working hours are common in working populations, little is known about the effect of long working hours on mental health. Method We examined the association between long working hours and the onset of depressive and anxiety symptoms in middle-aged employees. Participants were 2960 full-time employees aged 44 to 66 years (2248 men, 712 women) from the prospective Whitehall II cohort study of British civil servants. Working hours, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and covariates were measured at baseline (1997–1999) followed by two subsequent measurements of depressive and anxiety symptoms (2001 and 2002–2004). Results In a prospective analysis of participants with no depressive ( n =2549) or anxiety symptoms ( n =2618) at baseline, Cox proportional hazard analysis adjusted for baseline covariates showed a 1.66-fold [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–2.61] risk of depressive symptoms and a 1.74-fold (95% CI 1.15–2.61) risk of anxiety symptoms among employees working more than 55 h/week compared with employees working 35–40 h/week. Sex-stratified analysis showed an excess risk of depression and anxiety associated with long working hours among women [hazard ratios (HRs) 2.67 (95% CI 1.07–6.68) and 2.84 (95% CI 1.27–6.34) respectively] but not men [1.30 (0.77–2.19) and 1.43 (0.89–2.30)]. Conclusions Working long hours is a risk factor for the development of depressive and anxiety symptoms in women.
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To analyse the impact of overtime and extended working hours on the risk of occupational injuries and illnesses among a nationally representative sample of working adults from the United States. Responses from 10,793 Americans participating in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) were used to evaluate workers' job histories, work schedules, and occurrence of occupational injury and illness between 1987 and 2000. A total of 110,236 job records were analysed, encompassing 89,729 person-years of accumulated working time. Aggregated incidence rates in each of five exposure categories were calculated for each NLSY survey period. Multivariate analytical techniques were used to estimate the relative risk of long working hours per day, extended hours per week, long commute times, and overtime schedules on reporting a work related injury or illness, after adjusting for age, gender, occupation, industry, and region. After adjusting for those factors, working in jobs with overtime schedules was associated with a 61% higher injury hazard rate compared to jobs without overtime. Working at least 12 hours per day was associated with a 37% increased hazard rate and working at least 60 hours per week was associated with a 23% increased hazard rate. A strong dose-response effect was observed, with the injury rate (per 100 accumulated worker-years in a particular schedule) increasing in correspondence to the number of hours per day (or per week) in the workers' customary schedule. Results suggest that job schedules with long working hours are not more risky merely because they are concentrated in inherently hazardous industries or occupations, or because people working long hours spend more total time "at risk" for a work injury. Strategies to prevent work injuries should consider changes in scheduling practices, job redesign, and health protection programmes for people working in jobs involving overtime and extended hours.
Police fatigue is a common and potentially lethal problem that largely has been ignored until recently. In Tired Cops, Bryan Vila, Ph.D., a prominent police researcher with 17 years of law enforcement experience, reports important findings from his NIJ-sponsored research with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) on police fatigue. Vila explores potential links between fatigue and officer accidents, injuries, illnesses and misconduct. The PERF publication, supported by the National Sleep Foundation, also provides police executives with the background they need to start managing fatigue, and gives officers and their families insight into this long overlooked occupational hazard. This book is recommended for agencies reviewing their shift work, overtime and other problems exacerbated by the events of September 11, 2001. (less)
Aims: Studies suggest that people who work long hours are at increased risk of stroke, but the association of long working hours with atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia and a risk factor for stroke, is unknown. We examined the risk of atrial fibrillation in individuals working long hours (≥55 per week) and those working standard 35-40 h/week. Methods and results: In this prospective multi-cohort study from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations (IPD-Work) Consortium, the study population was 85 494 working men and women (mean age 43.4 years) with no recorded atrial fibrillation. Working hours were assessed at study baseline (1991-2004). Mean follow-up for incident atrial fibrillation was 10 years and cases were defined using data on electrocardiograms, hospital records, drug reimbursement registers, and death certificates. We identified 1061 new cases of atrial fibrillation (10-year cumulative incidence 12.4 per 1000). After adjustment for age, sex and socioeconomic status, individuals working long hours had a 1.4-fold increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared with those working standard hours (hazard ratio = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.13-1.80, P = 0.003). There was no significant heterogeneity between the cohort-specific effect estimates (I2 = 0%, P = 0.66) and the finding remained after excluding participants with coronary heart disease or stroke at baseline or during the follow-up (N = 2006, hazard ratio = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.05-1.76, P = 0.0180). Adjustment for potential confounding factors, such as obesity, risky alcohol use and high blood pressure, had little impact on this association. Conclusion: Individuals who worked long hours were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than those working standard hours.
To evaluate the association of long working hours with the risk for hypertension. A five year prospective cohort study. Work site in Osaka, Japan. 941 hypertension free Japanese male white collar workers aged 35-54 years were prospectively examined by serial annual health examinations. Men in whom borderline hypertension and hypertension were found during repeated surveys were defined as incidental cases of borderline hypertension and hypertension. 336 and 88 men developed hypertension above the borderline level and definite hypertension during the 3940 and 4531 person years, respectively. After controlling for potential predictors of hypertension, the relative risk for hypertension above the borderline level, compared with those who worked < 8.0 hours per day, was 0.63 (95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.43, 0.91) for those who worked 10.0-10.9 hours per day and 0.48 (95% CI: 0.31, 0.74) for those who worked > or = 11.0 hours per day. The relative risk for definite hypertension, compared with those who worked < 8.0 hours per day, was 0.33 (95% CI: 0.11, 0.95) for those who worked > or = 11.0 hours per day. The multivariate adjusted slopes of diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) during five years of follow up decreased as working hours per day increased. From the multiple regression analyses, working hours per day remained as an independent negative factor for the slopes of systolic blood pressure, DBP, and MABP. These results indicate that long working hours are negatively associated with the risk for hypertension in Japanese male white collar workers.
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Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Ministry of Labor & Taiwan. Guideline for the recognition of work-induced cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases (excluding diseases caused by external traumatic factors
  • Kenji Iwasaki
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