Mental distress is higher in construction workers, study says

construction workers

A new study suggests that the higher rate of injuries among construction workers may be related to higher levels of mental distress.

This research indicates that construction workers have higher levels of mental ailments than people in the general population.

A unique study

Published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the study is the first comprehensive investigation of mental distress among construction workers specifically.

Despite the more than 11 million workers in the industry with a "significantly higher rate of work-related injuries and very high prevalence of both acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain," the study says, there is little known about the extent of mental health problems among the workers.

High levels of mental distress

Researchers conducted a two-phase mental health assessment of 172 workers at four major New England construction sites in August of 2012. The first phase described the prevalence of mental distress among the workers assessed, while the second phase gave a structured diagnostic interview in a subsample of the workers. The third phase looked at the relationship between self-reported musculoskeletal pain, workplace injuries and substantial mental distress.

"The prevalence of substantial mental distress in our population is almost twice as high as previously reported in the general male population," the authors reported. "Furthermore, having substantial mental distress was associated with low back pain, multiple pain sites, and higher frequency and range of work-related injuries."


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