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Underemployment and mental health: comparing fixed-effects and random-effects regression approaches in an Australian working population cohort

Milner, Allison and LaMontagne, Anthony D. 2017, Underemployment and mental health: comparing fixed-effects and random-effects regression approaches in an Australian working population cohort, Occupational & environmental medicine, vol. 74, no. 5, pp. 3441-350, doi: 10.1136/oemed-2016-103706.

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Title Underemployment and mental health: comparing fixed-effects and random-effects regression approaches in an Australian working population cohort
Author(s) Milner, Allison
LaMontagne, Anthony D.ORCID iD for LaMontagne, Anthony D. orcid.org/0000-0002-5811-5906
Journal name Occupational & environmental medicine
Volume number 74
Issue number 5
Start page 3441
End page 350
Total pages 7
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2017-05
ISSN 1351-0711
1470-7926
Keyword(s) underemployment
cohort
fixed-effects regression
longitudinal
Summary OBJECTIVES: Underemployment occurs when workers are available for more hours of work than offered. It is a serious problem in many Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, and particularly in Australia, where it affects about 8% of the employed population. This paper seeks to answer the question: does an increase in underemployment have an influence on mental health?

METHODS: The current paper uses data from an Australian cohort of working people (2001-2013) to investigate both within-person and between-person differences in mental health associated with being underemployed compared with being fully employed. The main exposure was underemployment (not underemployed, underemployed 1-5, 6-10, 11-20 and over 21 hours), and the outcome was the five-item Mental Health Inventory.

RESULTS: Results suggest that stepwise declines in mental health are associated with an increasing number of hours underemployed. Results were stronger in the random-effects (11-20 hours =-1.53, 95% CI -2.03 to -1.03, p<0.001; 21 hours and over -2.24, 95% CI -3.06 to -1.43, p<0.001) than fixed-effects models (11-20 hours =-1.11, 95% CI -1.63 to -0.58, p<0.001; 21 hours and over -1.19, 95% CI -2.06 to -0.32, p=0.008). This likely reflects the fact that certain workers were more likely to suffer the negative effects of underemployment than others (eg, women, younger workers, workers in lower-skilled jobs and who were casually employed).

CONCLUSIONS: We suggest underemployment to be a target of future workplace prevention strategies.
Language eng
DOI 10.1136/oemed-2016-103706
Field of Research 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
111714 Mental Health
1117 Public Health And Health Services
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, BMJ Publishing Group
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30089203

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Population Health
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