Association between sickness presenteeism and depressive symptoms in Korean workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study

Kyung Shin Lee, Dong Wook Lee, Joo Yong Park, Ho Yeon Kim, Je Yeon Yun, Yun Chul Hong, Nami Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Korean workers have reported various types of sickness presenteeism (SP: continuing to attend work during illness). Understanding SP through mental health perspectives will help to make practical strategy for better working conditions. We examined the association between SP and depression among Korean workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in relation with the socioeconomic and lifestyle factors. Methods: Data from the 2020 Korean Community Health Survey were used as a representative nationwide sample dataset. We surveyed the experience of depression in the last two weeks from individuals who worked more than a week recently. We investigated the associations between SP and depressive symptoms. Depressive symptoms were scored using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the significance of the associations. Results: Analysis of the data obtained from 84,514 participants revealed that 1700 (2.2 %) participants reported experiencing depressive symptoms in 2020. Employees with SP showed higher association with depressive symptoms than employers or self-employed individuals (OR = 2.18, 95 % CI: 1.85, 2.56 among employees vs. OR = 1.76, 95 % CI: 1.29, 2.40 among employers or self-employed individuals). Conclusion: SP has become more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic. A protective strategy against SP among vulnerable workers is necessary for a healthier and safer society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-351
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume319
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Sick leave
  • Sickness presenteeism
  • Worker

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