An Observational Pilot Study Evaluating The Relationship between B-Vitamin Intake and Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety and Stress in Adult Office Workers

By Lynda Fricker

Abstract

Background

Vitamins is associated with depression, anxiety and stress (DAS) and supplementation could alleviate symptoms in office workers experiencing occupational stress.

Aims

To pilot the recruiting methods and data collection instruments that may be used to explore associations between B-Vitamin intake and symptoms of DAS in future research. A secondary aim is to explore associations between variables in the data. Study Design This is an observational, cross-sectional, postal questionnaire, pilot survey.

Methods

The study used a convenience sample of office workers. Recruitment was divided into Phase 1 (invitations) and Phase 2 (study pack distribution). Dietary intake was measured using a validated 4-day food diary. Psychological outcome measures were quantitatively measured using a validated Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS21). Demographic and quantitative participant satisfaction data were collected using a feasibility questionnaire designed and piloted by the researcher.

Results

In Phase 1, 55 individuals (29 women, 26 men), aged 18-65 were emailed an invitation to participate. 74% (n=40) responded. In Phase 2, 40 surveys were posted, 80% (n=32) were returned with signed consent forms. 100% returned complete DASS questionnaires, 97% returned complete diaries and 88% returned complete feasibility questionnaires. 36% provided incomplete supplement recording, with men and women equally as likely to provide incomplete data. 13% provided incomplete mealtime location recordings; with men more likely than women to provide incomplete data. 42% of women and 23% of men took vitamins. A significant association was found between stress scores and provision of incomplete responses. Participants who returned incomplete feasibility questionnaires had a significantly higher level of stress.  No other significant associations between variables were found.

Conclusion

The study found the data collection instruments as fit for purpose. No evidence was found that low dietary intake of B-Vitamins is associated with symptoms of DAS or that B-Vitamin supplementation would benefit office workers suffering occupational stress.