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A Moderating Effect of Social Support between Job Strain and Depressed Affect: a Cross-Sectional Study among Employees in the United States


Objective: To examine the independent and interactional effects of job strain and social support on depressed affect among United States employees.

Methods: Using cross-sectional data from the Mid-life in the United States, a nationally representative population-based study, the independent and combined effects of high versus low job strain and low versus high social support on depressed affect were examined with multivariate logistic regression analysis in 1858 employees.

Results: After adjusting for relevant confounders, high job strain and low social support were significantly associated with depressed affect, respectively. Job strain and social support exhibited a potentially additive interaction wherein employees with both high job strain and low social support had a significantly higher odds ratio for depressed affect [OR and 95% CI = 2.63 (1.59, 4.33)], compared to the reference group (low job strain and high social support).

Conclusions: Social support may buffer the adverse mental health effects of job strain.

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