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Employment status and mental health among persons with and without a disability: Evidence from an Australian cohort study

Milner,A, LaMontagne,AD, Aitken,Z, Bentley,R and Kavanagh,AM 2014, Employment status and mental health among persons with and without a disability: Evidence from an Australian cohort study, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol. 68, no. 11, pp. 1064-1071, doi: 10.1136/jech-2014-204147.

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Title Employment status and mental health among persons with and without a disability: Evidence from an Australian cohort study
Author(s) Milner,A
LaMontagne,ADORCID iD for LaMontagne,AD orcid.org/0000-0002-5811-5906
Aitken,Z
Bentley,R
Kavanagh,AM
Journal name Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Volume number 68
Issue number 11
Start page 1064
End page 1071
Total pages 8
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2014-07-22
ISSN 0143-005X
1470-2738
Summary Background: Unemployment and economic inactivity are associated with worse mental health in the general population, but there is limited understanding of whether these relationships are different for those persons with mental or physical disabilities. The aim of this study was to assess whether there were differences in mental health by labour force status among persons with and without disabilities. Method: Over eight annual waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, a total of 2379 people with disabilities and 11 417 people without disabilities were identified. Mental health using the Mental Component Summary (MCS) from the Short Form 36 was modelled as a function of labour force status using fixed-effects regression models to control for time invariant confounding. Differences between those with and without disabilities were assessed by including an interaction term in regression models. Results: After finding evidence of effect modification, regression models were stratified by disability status. After adjustment, unemployment and economic inactivity were associated with a -1.85 (95% CI -2.96 to -0.73, p<0.001) and -2.66 (95% CI -3.46 to -1.86, p<0.001) reduction in scores of the MCS among those with a disability. For those without a disability, there were smaller declines associated with unemployment (-0.57, 95% CI -1.02 to -0.12, p=0.013) and economic inactivity (-0.34, 95% CI -0.64 to 0.05, p=0.022). Conclusions: These results suggest a greater reduction in mental health for those persons with disabilities who were unemployed or economically inactive than those who were employed. This highlights the value of employment for people with disabilities.
Language eng
DOI 10.1136/jech-2014-204147
Field of Research 111703 Care for Disabled
111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
111714 Mental Health
Socio Economic Objective 920403 Disability and Functional Capacity
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, BMJ Publishing
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30068101

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Health and Social Development
Population Health
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