Objectives The aim of this study was to investigate the association between low job control at age 40 and hospitalisation from depression or suicide attempt among Swedish men 40–59 years of age.
Methods The study is based on a cohort of 39,877 Swedish males, born 1949–51, with data on job control attributed from occupational titles collected from censusus information in 1990 (at ages 39–41). For the study we have used information on unfavourable social and behavioural factors collected at compulsory conscription for military training in 1969/70 (at 18–20 years of age), information on achieved education and civil status at ages 39–41, and follow up data on hospitalisation for depression (402 cases) and suicide attempt (226 cases) between the years 1991–2009.
Results An increased relative risk of hospitalisation for depression (HR = 1.59 95% CI = 1.22–2.08) and of suicide attempt (HR = 3.28 95% CI = 2.24–4.82) were found among workers in the lowest job control quartile compared with those in the highest quartile. In multivariate analyses, adjusting for social and behavioural factors measured at age 18–20 (smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, psychiatric diagnoses, social misbehaviour) the increased relative risks in low control jobs was somewhat reduced. After also adjusting for achieved education and marital status no significantly increased relative risk remained for depression.
Conclusion There was an association between low job control and suicide attempt. The results suggest that the association between low job control, measured as in this study, and severe depression was confounded by other risk factors accumulated over the life-course.
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