Professors are exposed to increased tension at work on account of the fragmentation of their activities and of the responsibilities demanded of them without, in many cases, their having the conditions they need in order to respond adequately. Such a situation may represent stressful conditions, which increase the risk of mental disorders. We investigated the association between common mental disorders and stress factors at work among professors teaching in nine health courses at a private university in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The dependent variable was the presence of mental disorders, as measured by General Health Questionnaire 12. Stress factors at work were evaluated based on the Effort-Reward and Excessive Commitment model. The other variables were sociodemographic, occupational background, behavioral, and related to general health. The data were submitted to descriptive analyses, bivariate analyses, and Poisson regression. A total of 175 professors participated (80.0%), of whom 19.5% had mental disorders. These disorders were more prevalent among professors making the most effort at work (PR= 1.8, 95% CI= 1.01-3.46) and less prevalent among those with higher quality of life in their physical domain (PR= 0.95, 95% CI= 0.93 to 0.97). It can be concluded that there is a considerable prevalence of common mental disorders among university professors, which were higher among those who put more effort into their work and had lower quality of life in their physical domains.
mental health; professors; quality of life; worker's health; burnout