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February/March 2012 (vol. 08/5)
Unhealthy behaviour in hospital workers
Finnish research finds a ‘striking difference’ in the prevalence of adverse health risks among psychiatric staff compared with other hospital workers in internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, and intensive care. The prospective cohort study of 8,000 workers (87% women, 86% nurses) in 21 hospitals, linked baseline health-risk behaviours to absence and medication records over 12 months. Staff in psychiatric wards were more likely to smoke (20% prevalence, compared with 6% in gynaecology) and have excess alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, chronic physical disease and current or past mental health disorders. They were also at significantly raised risk of sickness absence due to all-cause mental disorders and depression.
Occupational Health at Work February/March 2012 (vol. 08/5) pp40