Poor team spirit at work could put employees at risk of depression, a study has shown.
Researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health asked 3,347 people aged between 30-64 about their working environment.
The study found employees who felt that team spirit was poor in their workplace were over 60% more likely to have depressive symptoms.
Employees who reported poor team spirit were 50% more likely to be taking antidepressants.
Depression and anxiety disorders are common in the workplace and are a major cause of sick leave, say the authors of the study, which will be published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The employees were asked to rate the atmosphere in their workplace on a scale from ‘encouraging and supportive’ to ‘quarrelsome and disagreeable’.
The participants were assessed for symptoms of depression, anxiety and alcohol misuse. Details about their prescriptions for antidepressants were collected over the following three years.
The authors of the study said: ‘A quarrelsome and disagreeing climate or interpersonal conflicts at work may generate feelings of threat or danger and result in an anxiety disorder.’
However, they added: ‘It is possible that employees with mental disorders perceive their team climate to be poorer than their healthy colleagues or they worsen team climate by their own behaviour.’
The researchers have urged for more attention to be paid to psychosocial factors at work.