Study reveals top-10 most depressing jobs

by Vault Careers | December 10, 2010

  • My Vault

According to a recent study conducted by Health magazine, personal health care is the field most likely to drive an employee to depression. The publication asserts that, in particular, medical specialists employed at nursing homes and those who treat children commonly struggle with the day-to-day guilt associated with sickness and death. This and other factors contribute to the finding that 11 percent of employees in the industry reported major episodes of depression in the last year, compared to 7 percent among the general population.

The study's results were translated into a top-10 list of most depressing jobs in America—some of which are no-brainers, while others could provoke some intriguing questions. For example, it's hardly surprising that those in the food service and maintenance industries might suffer; historically low wages and grueling physical labor aren't typically among jobseekers' preferred career options. On the other hand, teachers, financial advisors, and salespeople all make the list despite relatively decent hours and compensation. (Sure, working with kids can be exhausting, working with numbers dull, and cold-calling has to be, well, depressing—but surely they beat flipping burgers and digging ditches.)

The full list, courtesy of the New York Daily News:

Nursing home/child care worker
Food service worker
Social worker
Health-care worker
Artists, entertainers, writers
Teachers
Administrative staff support
Maintenance and grounds workers
Financial advisers and accountants
Salespeople

Though it doesn't appear above, the highest rates (13 percent) came from the unemployed. Unsurprising? Yes. But it's no laughing matter—the survey was based on medical diagnoses of serious depressive episodes, not mere anecdotes from people who hate their jobs. (Add "cost of prescriptions" to the growing list of reasons why Congress' recent failure to extend jobless benefits is deplorable.)

For more information:
New York Daily News: Most Depressing Jobs

- Sam Reynolds

Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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