Research Papers

Prevalence and Risk Factors for Depression among Long-Haul Truck Drivers in Western Canada

Version 1
Date added June 18, 2019
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Category 2019 CARSP XXIX Calgary
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 5B
Author/Auteur McLean, Malkin, Madani-Larijani, Crizzle
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only:

5B_McLean

Abstract:

Background/Context: Research shows that work-related stress and fatigue are risk factor for depression. Long haul truck drivers often report irregular work hours, extended work schedules, high mileage exposure, and a lack of control over work-related demands. Furthermore, long haul truck drivers experience frequent social isolation and geographic displacement from their families. Therefore, workers in the truck driving industry may be at a higher risk for depressive symptomology. To date, research literature examining mental health outcomes in long-haul truck drivers remains sparse.

Aims/Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of depression and its risk factors in long-haul truck drivers situated in western Canada.

Methods/Targets: One hundred and seventy long-haul truck drivers were surveyed in Alberta and Saskatchewan (5 truck stops in Alberta; 2 in Saskatchewan) in between August and September 2018. The sample included long-haul truck drivers with a Class 1 license that spend at least one night away from home during load deliveries. Survey items assessed the work demands, health status, substance use, sleep quality, fatigue, work-related stress and depression of long-haul truck drivers. The surveys were entered into a database (SPSS) for statistical analyses, which included descriptives, correlations and a  regression to determine predictors of depression in long-haul truck drivers.

Results/Activities: The majority of long-haul truckers (95.6%) were male, between the ages of 24 and 89. Most truck drivers identified as Caucasian (81.3%), with the remaining participants identifying as either Asian, native American Indian, black/African American, East Indian, or Latino/Hispanic (5.6%, 4.7%, 2.8%, 2.8%, 1.9% respectively). Depression was prevalent in 39% of the long-haul truck drivers surveyed. Depression was significantly associated with poorer self-reported health (r = .237, p <.05), greater marijuana use (Cramer’s V = .258, p <.05), low back pain (Cramer’s V = .316, p < .05), severe job-related stress (Cramer’s V = .283, p < .05), sleep apnea (Cramer’s V = .243, p < .05), non-usage of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device (Cramer’s V = .258, p < .05), poorer sleep quality (Cramer’s V = .430, p < .05) and less sleep duration (r = .13, p < .05). A logistic regression showed that (N = 68, -2 log Likelihood ratio = 73.71; Nagelkerke R2 = .297) sleep quality (p >.05), stress (p >.05) and non-usage of a CPAP machine (p >.05) were all predictive of depression. The odds of having depression were 4.09 times greater for truck drivers who reported broken sleep (CI =1.23, 13.60), 3.25 times greater for truck drivers who reported severe work-related stress (CI = 1.05, 10.09), and were 13.38 times greater for truck drivers who did not use a CPAP machine (CI = 1.12, 156.32).

Discussion/Deliverables: Depression is common in long-haul truck drivers. These findings suggest that fatigue and stress are strong risk factors for depression. More importantly, it suggests that drivers with sleep apnea are not using a CPAP device or that many drivers are not being diagnosed with sleep apnea, which contributes directly to depression. Drivers should be assessed for sleep apnea on regular intervals.