The Role of Life Stressors in the Relationship Between Work-Related Stress and Depressive Symptoms Among Working Black Adults in the United States
Work-related stress (WRS) has been considered a major source of stress for adults in the United States for more than a decade and it is higher in urban settings and greater among Black adults. Although research has established a connection between WRS, life stressors, and depressive symptoms, no previous studies have explicitly examined the association between spillover from life stressors to work and depressive symptoms using a nationally representative survey of Black Americans.
This current study examines how work related stressors are related to depressive symptomatology among working Black adults in the United States (defined as Black adults 18 years or older who were employed at the time of the interview), and whether this relationship is mediated by life stressors.
Multivariate logistic regression analysis compared work-related stress and other life stressors between working Black adults with depressed symptoms and working Black adults without depressive symptoms. Mediation of life stressors between work-related stress and depressive symptoms was also analyzed.
Work-related stress (OR: 1.79, 95% CI: 1.37, 2.32), (OR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.14, 1.71), neighborhood stressors (OR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.15, 1.70), and financial stressors (OR: 2.00, 95% CI: 1.54, 2.60) were associated with higher odds of experiencing depressive symptoms with low educational attainment serving as a critical component. Life stressors partially mediates the relationship between WRS and depressive symptoms (OR: 1.10, Bias-corrected 95% CI: 1.04, 1.16).
This study provides the foundation for the inclusion of other stressors (i.e., neighborhood and financial), beyond familial stressors, when exploring the spillover effect for working Black adults; taking into consideration the differential effects among high and low educational stratum. Organizations must begin to take a holistic and comprehensive approach when integrating policies and programs aimed at promoting interventions into their work-related stress prevention programs for Black adults—focusing on the full stress experience among workers at lower educational levels.