Depressive Disorders among Workers in the Selected Hotels in the Capital City of Kenya: A Cross Sectional Study on Prevalence and Correlates

Kevin Kibera Gacau, Yeri Kombe, Musa Otieno Ngayo, Peter Mwaniki


Background: Depressive symptoms are potential outcomes of poorly functioning and demanding work environments. Such symptoms are frequent and cause considerable suffering for the employees as well as financial loss for the employers. As a major hub of tourist attraction and the current consistent terrorism threats, workers in hotel industries in Nairobi Kenya have significant pressure not only to deliver quality services but also are faced with declining tourist flow. Accordingly, studies of psychosocial working conditions and depressive symptoms in this industry are valuable. Objective: This study measured the levels of depressive disorders and associated correlates among workers in selected luxury hotel industries in Nairobi Kenya. Methods: This cross-sectional study, consented and enrolled 360 workers in selected hotels in Nairobi. A sociodemographic based questionnaire and a mental health screening tool; Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) were used to gather information relevant to this study. The data was analyzed for central tendencies as well as for any associations and correlations. Results: The mean age of the 360 respondents was 28.4 (SD± 4.98) years. The majority 84.2% were aged 20 to 30 years, 55.3% had secondary level education, 35.3% worked as waiters. Using the PHQ-9, 9.2% had major depressive disorder while 10% were categorized as other depressive disorders. In multivariate analysis, major depressive disorders were independently associated with staying in temporary housing (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.6) and those whose adult household population was between 1 to 3 persons (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.03 to 7). The other depressive disorders were independently associated with working in low end hotels (OR 5.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 22.7); having primary education level (OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.1 to 15.9); staying in temporary houses (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1 to 0.8); and with monthly income of 10,000 to 50,000 KSh (100 to 500USD). The Key informant interviews identified poor remuneration, management disregard to employees input, negative attitude from work and colleagues, hostile treatment by clients, employers and colleagues, long working hours, poor diet, domestic problems, political instabilities, pressure from family members and high standards of living as some of the factors contributing to work related depression. Conclusion: Cumulatively, significantly high proportion of hotel workers suffer from depressive disorders in Nairobi. If correlates such as socio-demographic and economic, influenced by working conditions are not tackled, workers in hotel industries in Nairobi are poised to record one of the highest levels of depressive disorders in Kenya.

Keywords: Depressive disorders, Workers in selected hotels, Nairobi Kenya.

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