Long working hours, precarious employment and anxiety symptoms among working Chinese population in Hong Kong

Siu Ming CHAN, Tat Chor AU YEUNG, Hung WONG, Roger Yat-Nork CHUNG, Gary Ka-ki CHUNG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to examine the association between working hours and anxiety of a working population in Hong Kong. We used a cross sectional data from a population-based household survey of Hong Kong Chinese adults. Key measures included employment status, skill level, working hours, length of stay at current job and anxiety level. Symptoms of anxiety were assessed using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21). The data were analysed using logistic regression. Chinese adults who had long working hours (≥ 72 h per week) had higher odds of developing symptoms of anxiety than those who worked for ≤ 36 h per week (odds ratio [OR] 5.94, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.82‒19.41). Compared with short period (< 1 year), long period of stay at current job (≥ 5 years) was found as a protective factor from anxiety (OR 0.38, 95% CI: 0.20‒0.73). We found that a working period of 72 h per week was a significant threshold to cause anxiety to workers. Stable job arrangement was a protective factor to workers from anxiety. Implementation of labour market regulations, such as standard working hour policy and stable job arrangement, was also significant to mitigate risk of anxiety for working people in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1745–1757
Number of pages13
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date9 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by a grant from the Central Policy Unit of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. 4003-SPPR-11).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Working hours
  • Anxiety
  • Mental health
  • Precarious employment
  • Hong Kong


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