Employment is a key determinant of mental health. It encompasses job status (e.g., employed, unemployed, looking for work, or retired), and characteristics of work (e.g. job quality, occupational position, and job security). Job quality can be influenced by job satisfaction, which is the extent to which people like or dislike their job, and work-life balance, which is broadly defined as the subjective perception that one has enough time for both work and leisure (1,2).
Risk and/or Protective Factor
While good employment is protective of mental health, unemployment has been linked to increased stress, depression and anxiety (3). Job insecurity similarly has an adverse effect on mental health (4). Contract types including short term, temporary or zero-hour (contracts with no minimum of paid hours) are associated with increased anxiety (5).
Negative working conditions can also contribute to mental health difficulties. Job strain, night shifts and effort-reward imbalance have been linked to increased depressive symptoms (6–8). This can have an impact on job satisfaction. Low work satisfaction is associated with increased anxiety and depression, while high satisfaction is associated with mental well-being (9). On the other hand, having positive relationships with co-workers can enhance well-being (10). Furthermore, poor work-life balance is suggested to be a strong predictor of mental health outcomes, including depression and anxiety (11).
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11. Kotera Y, Green P, Sheffield D. Work-life balance of UK construction workers: relationship with mental health. Constr Manag Econ [Internet]. 2020 Mar 3 [cited 2021 Jan 20];38(3):291–303. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01446193.2019.1625417