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Common mental disorders, unemployment and psychosocial job quality: is a poor job better than no job at all?

Version 2 2024-06-06, 05:04
Version 1 2023-03-08, 01:46
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-06, 05:04 authored by Peter ButterworthPeter Butterworth, LS Leach, S McManus, SA Stansfeld
BackgroundEmployment is associated with health benefits over unemployment, but the psychosocial characteristics of work also influence health. There has, however, been little research contrasting the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among people who are unemployed with those in jobs of differing psychosocial quality.MethodAnalysis of data from the English Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) considered the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs) among 2603 respondents aged between 21 and 54 years who were either (i) employed or (ii) unemployed and looking for work at the time of interview in 2007. Quality of work was assessed by the number of adverse psychosocial job conditions reported (low control, high demands, insecurity and low job esteem).ResultsThe prevalence of CMDs was similar for those respondents who were unemployed and those in the poorest quality jobs. This pattern remained after controlling for relevant demographic and socio-economic covariates.ConclusionsAlthough employment is thought to promote mental health and well-being, work of poor psychosocial quality is not associated with any better mental health than unemployment. Policy efforts to improve community mental health should consider psychosocial job quality in conjunction with efforts to increase employment rates.

History

Journal

Psychological medicine

Volume

43

Pagination

1763-1772

Location

England

ISSN

0033-2917

eISSN

1469-8978

Language

English

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

8

Publisher

CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS