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Finish researchers have conducted a study in which they investigated how working environment affects the mood of the employees. Based on a nationally representative sample of 3,347 Finnish employees, aged between 30 and 64, the study showed that poor team spirit in the workplace boosted an employee's risk of depression and subsequent use of antidepressants.

Every employee was asked about their perceptions of the working environment including team spirit, the quality of communication, and their degree of job control/demands. They were also asked to rate their working environment according to four descriptions of the atmosphere in the workplace: encouraging and supportive of new ideas; prejudiced and conservative; nice and easy; or quarrelsome and disagreeable. They were also asked to include information about their social lives, living arrangements, and access to health services.

Following the questionnaires, the researchers then assessed the diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and alcohol misuse as well as information on prescriptions for antidepressants over the following three years collected from a national register.

Poor team spirit, epitomized by the perception that the working environment was prejudiced or quarrelsome, was not associated with alcohol misuse or anxiety, after taking account of the degree of individual job control/demands. However, those employees who felt that team spirit in the workplace was poor were over 60% more likely to report depressive symptoms and they were over 50% more likely to be taking antidepressants.

Depression and anxiety account for a considerable amount of sick leave and incapacity for work and can be accounted for common disorders in the working population.

Although the prevalence of mental health problems has not increased in recent years in Finland, there has been an explosion in the use of antidepressant drugs, with a sevenfold increase in prescriptions in Finland between 1990 and 2005.

Researchers suggest that more attention should be paid to psychosocial factors at work.


I agree with the conclusion of the researchers. I think those in supervisory positions can make a big difference in improving team spirits and resolving disputes.