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

See all articles by Koryu Sato

Koryu Sato

University of Tokyo - Department of Health Education and Health Sociology; Kyoto University

Ryohei Sakata

Link & Communication Inc.

Chiaki Murayama

Link & Communication Inc.

Mai Yamaguchi

University of Tokyo - School of Public Health

Yoko Matsuoka

University of Tokyo - School of Public Health

Naoki Kondo

University of Tokyo - Department of Health Education and Health Sociology

Date Written: July 27, 2020

Abstract

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

Sato, Koryu and Sakata, Ryohei and Murayama, Chiaki and Yamaguchi, Mai and Matsuoka, Yoko and Kondo, Naoki, 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 (July 27, 2020). 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, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3661202 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3661202

Koryu Sato (Contact Author)

University of Tokyo - Department of Health Education and Health Sociology ( email )

Bldg. 3 Rm S310
Tokyo, 113-0033
Japan

Kyoto University

Yoshida-konoe-machi
Sakyo-ku
Kyoto, Kyoto 606-8315
Japan

Ryohei Sakata

Link & Communication Inc.

Tokyo

Chiaki Murayama

Link & Communication Inc.

Tokyo

Mai Yamaguchi

University of Tokyo - School of Public Health

7-3-1 Hongo
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, 1130033
Japan

Yoko Matsuoka

University of Tokyo - School of Public Health

7-3-1 Hongo
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, 1130033
Japan

Naoki Kondo

University of Tokyo - Department of Health Education and Health Sociology

Bldg. 3 Rm S310
Tokyo, 113-0033
Japan

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