Columbia University Study Links Business Travel to Poor Mental Health

 The Allan Rosenfield Building at Columbia University, home of the Mailman School of Public Health.   Courtesy: mailman.columbia.edu

The Allan Rosenfield Building at Columbia University, home of the Mailman School of Public Health.  Courtesy: mailman.columbia.edu

A study conducted by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health has found associations between frequent business travel and various poor behavioral and mental health outcomes. Such outcomes include symptoms of anxiety and depression, tobacco and alcohol dependence, and sleep troubles.

Dr. Andrew Rundle was the lead author of the study, which analysed the health records of 18,328 employees who underwent a health assessment in 2015 provided by EHE International, Inc.  The EHE International health exam measured depressive symptoms with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), anxiety symptoms with the Generalized Anxiety Scale (GAD-7) and alcohol dependence with the CAGE scale. The study found that travelling two or more weeks per month positively correlated with higher (worse) scores in all three of these scales.

Said Rundle, “At the individual-level, employees who travel extensively need to take responsibility for the decisions they make around diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and sleep. However, to do this, employees will likely need support in the form of education, training, and a corporate culture that emphasizes healthy business travel.  Employers should provide employees who travel for business with accommodations that have access to physical activity facilities and healthy food options.”

Read more here and purchase the full study here.