Commuting to work: A new study suggests a link between depression and our daily travel

Going to work might be taking a toll on your body and health in more serious ways than you might have imagined.

commuting to work, depression, south korea
© Aleksandr Popov
commuting to work, depression, south korea

Mental health needs to be as prioritised as physical health. While seasonal depression is at its peak during the colder months, studies have shown that even eating these foods can negatively affect your mental health.

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Along with that, factors such too much screen time, and even your work schedule could have very real repercussions for health and wellness.

As reported by Korea Biomedical Review, a huge study that took place in South Korea shows that people's commute to work could have a huge impact on their mental health.

The link between commuting and depression

Research conducted by Dr. Lee Dong-wook, a professor in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Inha University Hospital, analysed 23,415 workers aged 20 to 59 using the 2017 Fifth Working Environment Survey.

After examining a huge host of factors such as income, region, marital status, presence of children, occupation, weekly work hours, and shift work, the study has some stunning findings for us.

The study also suggests that gender and family situation affects mental health. Jan Baborák

The research found that people who spend more than 60 minutes commuting to and from work each day, are 1.16 times more likely to suffer from depression than those who spend less than 30 minutes doing the same.

The problems with long commute

Professor Lee explains that even though in some studies, long commutes have been studied to have certain positive effects, in case of South Korea, it's the opposite.

Korea Biomed quotes the researcher saying,

With less time to spare, people could be short of time to relieve stress and combat physical fatigue through sleep, hobbies, and other activities.
They also have less time to invest in healthy lifestyle habits, including exercise, which may contribute to depression.

These are other additional observations from the studies that suggests gender and family situation can also affect mental states. For example, men were more likely to have depressive symptoms if they were single, had no children, or worked long hours.

In case of women however, they are more prone to mental health issues if they had multiple children (two or more) and did shift work.
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Sources used:

Korea Biomedical Review:' Commuting over 60 minutes increases depression risk by 1.2 times: study'

Science Alert: ' Massive Study Finds a Link Between Commuting And Poor Mental Health'

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