Karasek's job strain model postulates that workers chronically exposed to adverse psychosocial work environment (high strain job)--high psychological job demands and low job control, including poor social support, increased physical demand and hazardous work condition--will eventually develop both physical illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and psychological disorders such as depression. In order to determine the prevalence and associated factors of job-related depression, a cross-sectional study was conducted among laboratory technicians in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) and Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) Hospitals in Kelantan between September 2001 and February 2002. One hundred and two laboratory technicians in HUSM and 79 laboratory technicians in 7 KKM Hospitals were selected; 84/102 (82.4%) in HUSM and 71/79 (89.9%) in KKM Hospitals responded. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires of the validated Malay version of the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) originally developed by Robert Karasek. Results indicated that the prevalence of high job strain in laboratory technicians in HUSM and KKM hospitals was 33.3% (28/84) and 26.8% (19/71), respectively (p>0.05). Significantly higher proportion (59.5%) (50/84) of laboratory technicians in HUSM compared to those in KKM Hospitals (39.4%) (28/71) (p = 0.016) experienced job-related depression. Significant associated factors of job-related depression were low social support (HUSM: adjusted OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.2-18.8; KKM: adjusted OR 14.8, 95%CI 2.4-89.3), high psychological demand (HUSM: adjusted OR 3.0, 95%CI 1.0-8.8), and low decision authority (KKM: adjusted OR 9.7, 95%CI 1.0-91.1). We conclude that strengthening the social support network (supervisors' and coworkers' support), reducing psychological job demand, and increasing decision-making authority of laboratory technicians may go a long way towards reducing job-related depression.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.