Although depression is a major problem affecting the physical and mental health of the occupational population worldwide, little research is available among bank employees. The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of occupational stress and work-family conflict on depressive symptoms and the mediating role of psychological capital (PsyCap). A cross-sectional study was performed from May to June in 2013 in Liaoning province, China. The effort-reward imbalance (ERB) scale, the work-family conflict scale, the PsyCap questionnaire and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale were completed by 1546 employees in state-owned banks. A total of 1239 effective respondents (467 men and 772 women) became our subjects. Hierarchical regression analysis was carried out to explore the effects of extrinsic effort, reward, overcommitment, work-family conflict, and PsyCap on depressive symptoms. The mediating role of PsyCap was examined using Preacher and Hayes’ asymptotic and resampling strategies. The mean score of depressive symptoms was 18.4 (SD = 7.6) among the Chinese bank employees. Extrinsic effort, overcommitment and work-family conflict were positively associated with depressive symptoms. Reward and PsyCap were negatively associated with depressive symptoms. The significant mediating roles of PsyCap in the associations of extrinsic effort (a*b = 0.046, BCa 95% CI: 0.029, 0.066) and reward (a*b = −0.047, BCa 95% CI: −0.065, −0.030) with depressive symptoms were revealed. There is a high level of depressive symptoms among Chinese bank employees. PsyCap partially mediates the effects of extrinsic effort and reward on depressive symptoms. Investing in PsyCap may provide new approaches to improve mental health among Chinese bank employees.
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