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Changes in rates of depressive symptoms in a Japanese working population: life-table analysis from a 4-year follow-up study

  • N. Kawakami (a1), R. E. Roberts (a1), E. S. Lee (a1) and S. Araki (a1)


To investigate the effects of demographic variables on changes in rates of depressive symptoms in a non-clinical population, a 4-year follow-up study was conducted on a total of 6378 employees of a Japanese electrical company. Data were collected five times at 1-year intervals (T0—T4) using a questionnaire that included the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS). Of the non-depressed (i.e. having a SDS score of 47 or less) at baseline (N = 4857), 14% were found depressed at least once during T1—T4. Younger, never married, female and blue-collar workers were significantly at greater risk for becoming depressed during the follow-up period (P < 0·05). Of the depressed at baseline (N = 505), 20% were depressed every time during T1—T4. Younger workers were significantly at greater risk for persistence of depressive symptoms during the follow-up period (P < 0·05). The results suggested that age is associated with both occurrence and persistence of depressive symptoms, while gender, marital status and occupation are associated only with the occurrence.


Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr Norito Kawakami, Department of Public Health, Gifu University School of Medicine, 40 Tsukasamachi, Gifu 500, Japan.


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