Emotional labor and depressive mood in service and sales workers: Interactions with gender and job autonomy

Kyu Man Han, Cheolmin Shin, Ho Kyoung Yoon, Young Hoon Ko, Yong Ku Kim, Changsu Han

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Emotional labor is strongly correlated with negative consequences in psychological well-being and mental health status in workers. We investigated the associations of emotional labor with depressive mood and perceived usual stress level according to gender and its interactions with job autonomy in service and sales workers. The data from 2,055 service and sales workers from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (KNHANES) conducted from 2007 to 2009 were analyzed. High emotional labor was associated with increased risk for depressive mood in female workers (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.19, 95%, confidence interval [CI] = 1.56–3.07). Emotional labor and job autonomy showed interactive effects on depressive mood in that high emotional labor was associated with depressive mood only in the presence of low job autonomy in male workers (aOR = 2.85, 95% CI = 1.13–7.17). A significant mediation pathway between high emotional demand and prevalence of depressive mood through higher stress level was observed in female workers. In conclusion, female workers had high vulnerability to depressive symptoms due to emotional labor, and high job autonomy can act as a buffer against the detrimental effect of emotional labor in male workers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)490-498
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychiatry Research
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This research was supported by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute ( KHIDI ), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea ( HC15C1405 ).

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2018


    • Depression
    • Emotional demand
    • Emotional labor
    • Gender
    • Job autonomy
    • Job demand–control model
    • Stress

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry


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