But the United States ranks sixth for overtime, according to a 2004 survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Other countries with high rates of overtime include South Korea, Greece, Mexico, Australia and Japan.
Williams said given the current economic climate, it will be hard for U.S. workers to say "no thanks" to overtime for the sake of their health.
"It may be hard, given the economic situation's effects on working conditions, to reduce overtime," said Williams. "It could be interesting to see if training in stress-coping skills that have been shown to reduce not only psychosocial risk factors like anger, depression and perceived stress, but also blood pressure and heart rate surges when recalling a situation that made one angry, would ameliorate the health-damaging effects of overtime."