Around 1 in 6 Americans say that they've been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. Certain groups are more likely to suffer depression, including the divorced, women, and people between the ages of 45 and 64.
But now a new a new Gallup poll identifies another possible risk factor: working part-time.
Of the 27 million part-time workers in America, 1 in 12 are currently being treated for depression, according to the Gallup poll; that's roughly 50 percent higher than the rate among full-time workers. And the poll found that a whopping 1 in 6 part-time workers has been diagnosed with depression in his or her lifetime, compared to a little over 1 in 10 for their full-time counterparts.
To save money, employers have increasingly relied on part-time workers since the recession. But the Gallup poll, which interviewed almost a quarter million full-time employees and 66,000 part-timers, points out that this may have an unforeseen cost. Depressed workers, on average, take several extra sick days a year, which in total lost productivity, across the entire workforce, adds up to around $23.2 billion.
Part of the reason that depression rates are higher in the part-time workforce is that 30 percent of those part-time workers wish they were working more, and may be just scraping by on their scant hours. More than 14 percent of part-time workers are under the official poverty level, according to a 2011 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than three times the rate for full-timers.
And the absolute, No. 1, greatest predictor for depression? Poverty.
During the recession and the recovery, far more Americans have fallen into poverty, endured the trauma of a lay off, or shifted to part-time work. This may be why Google searches for "I'm depressed" soared, and still haven't returned to pre-recession levels.
While wealthier countries have higher rates of depression, low-income people in those countries have the highest of them all. When asked by the Gallup pollsters, "Have you ever been told by a physician or nurse that you have any of the following ... depression?," 30 percent of Americans with annual incomes under $24,000 answered yes.
The rate was almost half that for middle-income Americans (annual salaries between $24,000 and $59,000), and at only 13 percent of Americans with incomes higher than $60,000. Some researchers say depression is tied to inequality -- the sense that you're on the bottom of a very high pyramid -- with one paper on the subject, published in BMC Medicine, saying it's possible that "depression is to some extent an illness of affluence."
Read "The Most Underpaid Jobs In The U.S."
The Most Underpaid Jobs in the U.S.
Part-Time Workers Far More Likely To Be Depressed, Gallup Poll Finds
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Average Salary: $28,470 No. of Openings: 71,400 Job Satisfaction: HIGH
A sports coach trains either amateur or professional athletes for competition. But he or she also serves as an adviser, parent, teacher, and confidante for his or her team. The most-renowned in the profession -- the Bela Karolyis, the John Maddens, and the Pat Rileys -- have earned impressive salaries that came with adulation as well as endorsement deals. But most of the 242,900 professionals working in the field currently aren't coaching on that level, nor are they earning that type of pay. And the adulation they most mention to Glassdoor comes from the impressionable young people they coach on the secondary and collegiate level.
Average Salary: $29,100 No. of Openings: 162,900 Job Satisfaction: MEDIUM
The approximately 530,000 medical assistants employed in doctors' offices and larger medical organizations must do a mix of traditional office operations work and hands-on medical tasks. They take patient histories, assist in patient examinations, change wound dressings, and help with sterilizing equipment. Often, they're the first and last people a patient sees when visiting a doctor's office, so medical assistants play a substantial part in the overall patient-care experience. In recent years, a medical assistant's people skills and practical skills have been complemented by technological skills, since most patient records are now digitized. The multifaceted nature of responsibilities hasn't resulted in substantially higher pay, however. In 2011, the BLS reported a median salary for medical assistants that's $12,573 less than the national average.
Average Salary: $31,030 No. of Openings: 124,700 Job Satisfaction: HIGH
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Average Salary: $31,870 No. of Openings: 118,500 Job Satisfaction: HIGH
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Average Salary: $39,070 No. of Openings: 45,000 Job Satisfaction: HIGH
The mercurial economy hasn't made a real estate agent's profession an easy one. Still, the BLS predicts approximately 45,000 openings in this occupation between now and 2020, thanks to population growth. Agents have to stay abreast to the local zoning and tax laws of various communities, plus keep a pulse on the atmosphere in communities where they might do business. Keeping tabs on market conditions is another crucial element of their occupation. This is also a job that requires copious paperwork and patience, but it's not a job that comes with copious spending change. Though the profession's highest-paid earned around $92,000 in 2011, a real estate agent's average salary was less than $40,000 that year. Some tell Glassdoor that they find reward in helping people find homes. For others, they appreciate the chance to make their own flexible schedule.
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