Rely on Tips? You May Be at Higher Risk for Depression

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People who work in the service industry and depend on tips to supplement their base pay are at increased risk for depression, high stress levels, and sleep problems, according to researchers at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health in Oregon. Pew Research Center statistics indicate that about 102 million Americans work in service industries like restaurants, salons, and transportation, and in many of these positions, base pay is up to 71 percent lower than the federal minimum wage.

In a nationwide study involving thousands of participants who were followed from adolescence to adulthood, the researchers found a higher prevalence of mental health problems in tipped service workers. Workers who get tips also are almost twice as likely as those who don’t to live in poverty.

According to the researchers, factors that may contribute to these issues include:

  • the unstable nature of service work, including lower and unpredictable wages
  • insufficient benefits
  • lack of control over work hours and assigned shifts
  • a “customer is always right” mentality
  • emotional interactions with customers involving anger, disagreement, or hostility

Women comprise 56 percent of service industry workers and 67 percent of all tipped workers.

Sourced from: American Journal of Epidemiology