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Work-unit measures of organisational justice and risk of depression—a 2-year cohort study
  1. Matias Brødsgaard Grynderup1,
  2. Ole Mors2,
  3. Åse Marie Hansen3,4,
  4. Johan Hviid Andersen5,
  5. Jens Peter Bonde6,
  6. Anette Kærgaard5,
  7. Linda Kærlev7,
  8. Sigurd Mikkelsen6,
  9. Reiner Rugulies4,
  10. Jane Frølund Thomsen6,
  11. Henrik Albert Kolstad1
  1. 1Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  2. 2Centre for Psychiatric Research, Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. 4National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. 5Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Regional Hospital Herning, Herning, Denmark
  6. 6Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. 7Center for Clinical Epidemiology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Matias Brødsgaard Grynderup, Department of Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Nørrebrogade 44 byg. 2C, Aarhus 8000, Denmark; matigryn{at}


Objectives The aim of this study is to analyse if low justice at work, analysed as aggregated workplace means, increases the risk of depression.

Methods A total of 4237 non-depressed Danish public employees within 378 different work units were enrolled in 2007. Mean levels of procedural and relational justice were computed for each work unit to obtain exposure measures that were robust to reporting bias related to depression. Two years later in 2009, 3047 (72%) participated at follow-up. Those reporting high levels of depressive, burn-out or stress symptoms were assigned to a psychiatric diagnostic interview. In the interview 58 cases of new onset depression were identified. Depression ORs by work unit level of procedural and relational justice were estimated by multivariable logistic regression accounting for established risk factors for depression.

Results Working in a work unit with low procedural justice (adjusted ORs of 2.50, 95% CI 1.06 to 5.88) and low relational justice (3.14, 95% CI 1.37 to 7.19) predicted onset of depression.

Conclusions Our results indicate that a work environment characterised by low levels of justice is a risk factor for depression.

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