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The Daily

Study: Middle Managers Saddest Workers of All

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 1, 2015
'Italian Sandwich'. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia CommonsA recent study has found that a lot of people in middle management positions are depressed, more so than those at both the top and bottom of the corporate hierarchy, according to the Atlantic. Researchers from Columbia University, examining data from 22,000 full-time workers, found that 18 percent of those in supervisory and managerial positions reported that they experienced depression symptoms, versus 12 percent for blue-collar workers and 11 percent for owners and executives.

The researchers theorized that the reason for this is that people who have to supervise those below while, at the same time, being supervised by those above get the worst of both worlds. They are required to enforce policies that might not be popular with subordinates, and are judged by their superiors on how effective they are in doing so, something that basically exposes them to flak from both above and below. Essentially, the study said they have to worry about two layers of the hierarchy, while those above and below them generally only have to worry about one. While they might have more autonomy than those they supervise, they have little actual control of what it is they're tasked with doing, which cancels out whatever benefits this increased independence may bring. The results, according to the Atlantic, have caused the researchers to rethink their framing for workplace happiness, as previous research on this topic has generally looked at those at the bottom of the hierarchy, who have shown signs of depression and anxiety attributed to lack of control over their work lives entirely.