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Work Content and Serious Mental Illness among Middle-Aged Men: Results from a 6-Year Longitudinal Study in Japan


  • Hisashi Eguchi
  • Koji Wada
  • Yoshiyuki Higuchi
  • Daisuke Yoneoka
  • Derek R Smith


Objective: The present study aimed to determine prospective associations between work content after a working life of more than 20 years and serious mental illness among Japanese men aged 50 to 59 years, using a nationwide population-based survey. Methods: Data were extracted from a national longitudinal survey of middle-aged and elderly persons previously conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan. We analyzed data across 10 work content categories for Japanese men who had been working in the same job type or industry for over 20 years. As part pf the survey, participants completed the Kessler (K)6 scale each year to determine their level of psychological distress (with scores ≥13 indicating serious mental illness). Cox discrete time proposal hazard regression analysis was used to examine potential associations between work content and serious mental illness from 2005 to 2010. Further adjustments were made for other sociodemographic characteristics and lifestyle factors. Results: The current study involved a total of 11,942 participants with a mean (± standard deviation [SD]) of follow-up was 3.4 (± 2.0) years, during which time 892 participants (7.5%) had been classified as having a new-onset serious mental illness. Men who had worked in service jobs and in manufacturing jobs at baseline were more likely to develop serious mental illness than those in managerial jobs (hazard ratio 1.37, 1.30, 95% confidence intervals 1.04–1.80, 1.02–1.65) after adjustment for confounding variables. Conclusion: These findings suggest that Japanese men aged 50 to 59 years who have worked in service and manufacturing jobs after a working life of over 20 years have an increased risk of serious mental illness during follow-up. Identifying the most at-risk work content category after a working life of over 20 years would be an essential part of providing more effective interventions for psychological distress among Japanese men in this age group.

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  • Hisashi Eguchi & Koji Wada & Yoshiyuki Higuchi & Daisuke Yoneoka & Derek R Smith, 2015. "Work Content and Serious Mental Illness among Middle-Aged Men: Results from a 6-Year Longitudinal Study in Japan," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(6), pages 1-11, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:plo:pone00:0131203
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131203

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    References listed on IDEAS

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