Emotional Labor: Links to Depression and Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Call Center Workers

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Little evidence links emotional labor to either psychological or physical health. This study determined whether the two types of emotional labor (i.e., surface vs. deep acting) were significantly associated with depressive symptoms and work-related musculoskeletal disorders in call center workers. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 274 workers recruited from a call center in Seoul, South Korea. In adjusted regression models, levels of surface, but not deep, acting were significantly and positively associated with depressive symptoms. Higher surface acting levels were significantly and positively associated with low back pain; higher deep acting levels were significantly and inversely associated with low back pain. Study findings could inform occupational health nurses as they delineate differentiated strategies, according to the nature of surface and deep acting, to promote psychological and physical health in call center workers.

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