Precarious Work as Risk Factor for 5-Year Increase in Depressive Symptoms

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OBJECTIVES: The aim was to investigate the longitudinal relationship between precarious work and depressive symptoms in a representative cohort of employees in Germany.

METHODS: In the German Study on Mental Health at Work (S-MGA) ( n = 2009), depressive symptoms were assessed by the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Precarious work was measured through baseline (2012) self-reported job insecurity, marginal part-time, fixed-term contract, hourly wage and-during follow-ups 2012-2017-unemployment. Among employees without depressive symptoms at baseline (2012), we ran logistic regression analyses stratified by gender with depressive symptoms at follow-up in 2017 as the dependent variable, adjusting for baseline (2012) age, gender, socioeconomic position and partner status.

RESULTS: Among men, job insecurity (OR: 2.47; 95% 95% CI: 1.37-4.48) and low wage (3.79; 1.64-8.72) at baseline were significantly associated with depressive symptoms at follow-up. Among women, indicators of precarious work were not associated with depressive symptoms at follow-up. Among men, a cumulative exposure index of precarious work was significantly associated with the development of depressive symptoms (one indicator: 1.84; 0.94-3.60, ≥two indicators: 7.65; 3.30-17.73). This index was not associated with depressive symptoms among women. The population attributable fraction of precarious work due to depressive symptoms among men was approximately 30%.

CONCLUSIONS: Among employees in Germany, precarious work seems to be a risk factor for the subsequent development of depressive symptoms among men, but not among women. Research on precarious employment in different countries is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3175
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2022

    Research areas

  • Depression/epidemiology, Employment/psychology, Female, Germany/epidemiology, Humans, Male, Risk Factors, Unemployment

ID: 317948674