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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2017 Dec;71(12):1198-1202. doi: 10.1136/jech-2017-209800. Epub 2017 Sep 29.

Underemployment and its impacts on mental health among those with disabilities: evidence from the HILDA cohort.

Author information

1
Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
2
Work, Health and Wellbeing Unit, Population Health Research Centre, School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
3
Centre for Health Economics, Monash Business School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Underemployment (defined as when a person in paid employment works for fewer hours than their desired full working capacity) is increasingly recognised as a component of employment precarity. This paper sought to investigate the effects of underemployment on the mental health of people with disabilities.

METHODS:

Using 14 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, we used fixed-effects models to assess whether the presence of a disability modified the association between underemployment and mental health. Both disability and underemployment were assessed as time-varying factors. Measures of effect measure modification were presented on the additive scale.

RESULTS:

The experience of underemployment was associated with a significantly greater decline in mental health when a person reported a disability (mean difference -1.38, 95% CI -2.20 to -0.57) compared with when they did not report a disability (mean difference -0.49, 95% CI -0.84 to -0.14). The combined effect of being underemployed and having a disability was nearly one point greater than the summed independent risks of having a disability and being underemployed (-0.89, 95% CI -1.75 to -0.03).

CONCLUSION:

People with disabilities are more likely to experience underemployment and more likely to have their mental health adversely affected by it. There is a need for more research and policy attention on how to ameliorate the effects of underemployment on the mental health of persons with disabilities.

KEYWORDS:

disabilities; employment precarity; mental health; underemployment

PMID:
28970195
DOI:
10.1136/jech-2017-209800
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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