The role of social support in protecting mental health when employed and unemployed: a longitudinal fixed-effects analysis using 12 annual waves of the HILDA cohort

Milner, Allison, Krnjacki, Lauren, Butterworth, Peter and LaMontagne, Anthony D. 2016, The role of social support in protecting mental health when employed and unemployed: a longitudinal fixed-effects analysis using 12 annual waves of the HILDA cohort, Social science & medicine, vol. 153, pp. 20-26, doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.01.050.

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Title The role of social support in protecting mental health when employed and unemployed: a longitudinal fixed-effects analysis using 12 annual waves of the HILDA cohort
Author(s) Milner, AllisonORCID iD for Milner, Allison orcid.org/0000-0003-4657-0503
Krnjacki, Lauren
Butterworth, Peter
LaMontagne, Anthony D.ORCID iD for LaMontagne, Anthony D. orcid.org/0000-0002-5811-5906
Journal name Social science & medicine
Volume number 153
Start page 20
End page 26
Total pages 7
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2016-03
ISSN 1873-5347
Keyword(s) employed
fixed effect
longitudinal
mental health
social support
unemployed
Science & Technology
Social Sciences
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Social Sciences, Biomedical
Biomedical Social Sciences
DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
OLDER-PEOPLE
RISK-FACTORS
LONELINESS
TIES
METAANALYSIS
VALIDITY
STRESS
MODELS
LIFE
Summary Perceived social support is associated with overall better mental health. There is also evidence that unemployed workers with higher social support cope better psychologically than those without such support. However, there has been limited research about the effect of social support among people who have experienced both unemployment and employment. We assessed this topic using 12 years of annually collected cohort data. The sample included 3190 people who had experienced both unemployment and employment. We used longitudinal fixed-effects modelling to investigate within-person changes in mental health comparing the role of social support when a person was unemployed to when they were employed. Compared to when a person reported low social support, a change to medium (6.35, 95% 5.66 to 7.04, p < 0.001) or high social support (11.58, 95%, 95% CI 10.81 to 12.36, p < 0.001) was associated with a large increase in mental health (measured on an 100 point scale, with higher scores representing better mental health). When a person was unemployed but had high levels of social support, their mental health was 2.89 points (95% CI 1.67 to 4.11, p < 0.001) higher than when they were employed but had lower social support. The buffering effect of social support was confirmed in stratified analysis. There was a strong direct effect of social support on mental health. The magnitude of these differences could be considered clinically meaningful. Our results also suggest that social support has a significant buffering effect on mental health when a person is unemployed.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.01.050
Field of Research 111714 Mental Health
111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
1117 Public Health And Health Services
1601 Anthropology
1608 Sociology
Socio Economic Objective 920410 Mental Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Elsevier
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30081511

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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