Reciprocity and Depressive Symptoms in Belgian Workers: A Cross-Sectional Multilevel Analysis

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This study examines the multidimensional association between reciprocity at work and depressive symptoms.


Data from the Belgian BELSTRESS survey (32 companies; N = 24,402) were analyzed. Multilevel statistical procedures were used to account for company-level associations while controlling for individual-level associations.


Different dimensions of individual reciprocity were negatively associated with depressive symptoms. On the company level, only vertical emotional reciprocity was negatively associated (β = −4.660; SE = 1.117) independently from individual reciprocity (β = −0.557; SE = 0.042). Complex interactions were found such that workplace reciprocity (1) may not uniformly benefit individuals and (2) related differently to depressive symptoms, depending on occupational group.


This study extends the existing literature with evidence on the multidimensional, contextual, and cross-level interaction associations of reciprocity as a key aspect of social capital on depressive symptoms.

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