Working From Home and Lifestyle Changes Associated With Risk of Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Observational Study of Health App (CALO Mama) Users
Sato K, Sakata R, Murayama C, Yamaguchi M, Matsuoka Y, Kondo N. Changes in work and life patterns associated with depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: an observational study of health app (CALO mama) users. Occup Environ Med. 2021 Feb 22:oemed-2020-106945. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2020-106945
21 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020 Last revised: 22 Apr 2021
Date Written: July 27, 2020
Background: During the corona-virus disease 2019 pandemic, many people refrained from going out, started working from home (WFH), and suspended work or lost their jobs, and these lifestyle changes could affect their mental health. This study examines how such pandemic-related lifestyle changes were associated with the risk of depression.
Methods: An online survey among participants who use a health app called CALO mama was conducted from April 30 to May 8, 2020 in Japan. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the two-question screen. Participants consisted of 1,238 men (mean age = 51.0) and 2,086 women (mean age = 43.2), and their number of daily steps from January 1 to May 13, recorded by an accelerometer in their mobile devices, was linked to their responses.
Results: On average, participants took 900 fewer weekday steps during the governmental declaration of a state of emergency. Depressive symptoms were more prevalent among women than men (45.9% vs. 32.4%). Among women, a decrease in walking and increased time spent on childcare were associated with an increased risk of depression. Conversely, starting WFH was negatively associated with risk for women. Among men, more weekday steps in the pre-declaration period were protective against depression. Men who worked longer during the declaration period, however, had an increased risk for depression, but WFH mitigated their risk.
Conclusions: Prevention of social isolation and physical inactivity due to home-bound lifestyles, the promotion of WFH, and gender-specific measures such as prevention of longer working hours and more support for home childcare are needed.
Keywords: Working From Home, Depression Risk, Social Isolation, COVID-19, Walking
JEL Classification: I10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation