Gain of employment and depressive symptoms among previously unemployed workers: A longitudinal cohort study in South Korea

Authors

  • Seung-Sup Kim MD, ScD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, District of Columbia
    • Department of Healthcare Management, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
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  • Carles Muntaner PhD, MHS,

    1. Dalla Lana School of Public Health and School of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Hyun Kim ScD,

    1. Department of Population Health, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Great Neck, New York
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  • Christie Y. Jeon ScD,

    1. Center for Cancer Prevention and Control, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
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  • Melissa J. Perry ScD, MHS

    1. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, District of Columbia
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  • Disclosure Statement: This research was supported by a Korea University Grant (K1324141). No financial or other relationships may lead to conflicts as regards the publication of this material.

Correspondence to: Seung-Sup Kim, Department of Healthcare Management, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

E-mail: ssk3@korea.ac.kr

Abstract

Background

The goal of this study is to examine the association between gain of employment and depressive symptoms among previously unemployed workers in South Korea.

Methods

Using data from the on-going Korean Welfare Panel Study, we determined four different employment statuses (i.e., unemployment, part-time precarious, full-time precarious, full-time permanent employment) at follow up (2008 or 2010) among the unemployed at baseline (2007 or 2009) and examined their association with depressive symptoms after excluding the people with depressive symptoms at baseline (N = 308). Depressive symptoms were assessed annually using the 11-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.

Results

After adjusting for covariates including health-related variables, unemployed individuals who gained full-time permanent employment (RR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.83) and those who gained full-time precarious employment (RR: 0.26, 95% CI: 0.11, 0.63) were less likely to have depressive symptoms compared to those with persistent unemployment. In a subpopulation analysis conducted after additionally excluding the people with depressive symptoms 1 year before baseline, only the association between gaining full-time permanent employment and depressive symptoms was significant (RR: 0.27, 95% CI: 0.08, 0.86).

Conclusions

Our findings highlight the benefits of full-time permanent employment on worker's mental health. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:1245–1250, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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