Working hours and mental health in Australia: evidence from an Australian population-based cohort, 2001-2012

Milner, Allison, Smith, Peter and LaMontagne,A. D. 2015, Working hours and mental health in Australia: evidence from an Australian population-based cohort, 2001-2012, Occupational and environmental medicine, vol. 72, no. 8, pp. 573-579, doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102791.

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Title Working hours and mental health in Australia: evidence from an Australian population-based cohort, 2001-2012
Author(s) Milner, AllisonORCID iD for Milner, Allison
Smith, Peter
LaMontagne,A. D.ORCID iD for LaMontagne,A. D.
Journal name Occupational and environmental medicine
Volume number 72
Issue number 8
Start page 573
End page 579
Total pages 7
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015-08
ISSN 1351-0711
Summary Objectives: This paper assesses the impact of working less than or more than standard full-time hours on mental health, as well as possible differences in this relationship by gender and skill level. Methods: The study design was a longitudinal cohort with 12 annual waves of data collection over the period 2001-2012, yielding a sample of 90 637 observations from 18 420 people. Fixed effects within-person regression was used to control for time invariant confounding. The Mental Component Summary of the Short Form 36 (SF-36) measure was used as the primary outcome measure. Working hours over the preceding year was measured in five categories with standard full-time hours (35-40 h/week) as the reference. Results: Results indicated that when respondents were working 49-59 h (-0.52, 95% CI -0.74 to -0.29, p<0.001) and 60 h or more (-0.47, 95% CI -0.77 to -0.16, p=0.003) they had worse mental health than when they were working 35-40 h/week (reference). The difference in mental health when working 49-59 h was greater for women than for men. There were greater declines in mental health in relation to longer working hours among persons in higher compared to lower occupational skill levels. Conclusions: Study results suggest the need for employers and governments to regulate working hours to reduce the burden of mental ill health in the working population.
Language eng
DOI 10.1136/oemed-2014-102791
Field of Research 111714 Mental Health
111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, BMJ Publishing Group
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Population Health
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