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Aissatou Fall

Aissatou Fall

University of Montreal, Canada

Title: Psychosocial work demands and major depressive symptoms among working pregnant women


Biography: Aissatou Fall


The objective of our study was to describe the exposure to psychosocial work demands and to evaluate the association between psychosocial work demands ("high-strain" or "Iso-strain" jobs) and major depressive symptoms (CES-D score ≥23) among working pregnant women in Montréal, Québec (N=3 765). In total, 24.4% of pregnant women were exposed to "high-strain" jobs (high demand and low control) and the proportion of workers exposed to "Iso-strain" was 69.1% ("high-strain" job with low support at work).

At 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy, prevalence of major depressive symptoms was 9.8% (95% CI: 8.7–10.8%) for all pregnant women. In our sample, 14.7% (95% CI: 12.5–17.2%) of pregnant women who had been exposed to "high-strain" jobs and 17.0% (95% CI: 14.1–20.2%) of women who had been exposed to "Iso-strain" presented major depressive symptoms. Psychosocial work demands were associated with the mental health of pregnant women, when other organizational and personal factors which they encountered outside the work settings were taken into account. The impact of the "demand-control-support" model and the critical role of social support at work have been demonstrated among working pregnant women.

Despite the application of preventive measures during pregnancy, screening and intervention measures should be implemented in workplaces to reduce the prevalence of prenatal mental health problems and exposure to psychosocial work demands so as to prevent maternal and neonatal complications.