Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 49
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Unencumbered and still unequal? Work hour-Health tipping points and gender inequality among older, employed Australian couples
    Doan, T ; LaBond, C ; Banwell, C ; Timmins, P ; Butterworth, P ; Strazdins, L (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2022-06-01)
    Could working into older age offer women an opportunity to 'catch up' their careers and redress their financial disadvantage in retirement? This is a period of relative 'unencumbrance' from childrearing, potentially freeing women's time for more paid work. Here, we examine whether women aged 50 to 70 are able to increase their workhours, and what happens to their mental health, vitality and wealth. We used a representative household-based panel of employed older Australians (the HILDA survey). The longitudinal bootstrapped 3SLS estimation technique adjusted for reciprocal relationships between wages, workhours, and health, modelled in the context of domestic work time. We found that, relative to their same-aged male counterparts, older women spent 10 h more each week on domestic work, and 9 h less on work that earned income. When women sought to add more paid hours on top of their unpaid hours, their mental health and vitality were impaired. Men were typically able to maintain their workhours and health advantage by spending fewer hours each week on domestic work. Unable to work longer without trading-off their health, and paid less per hour if they did so, our analysis questions whether working into older age offers women a road out of inequality and disadvantage.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    The protective effects of wellbeing and flourishing on long-term mental health risk
    Burns, RA ; Windsor, T ; Butterworth, P ; Anstey, KJ (Elsevier BV, 2022-12)
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Effect of lockdown on mental health in Australia: evidence from a natural experiment analysing a longitudinal probability sample survey.
    Butterworth, P ; Schurer, S ; Trinh, T-A ; Vera-Toscano, E ; Wooden, M (Elsevier BV, 2022-05)
    BACKGROUND: Many studies have examined population mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic but have been unable to isolate the direct effect of lockdowns. The aim of this study was to examine changes in the mental health of Australians aged 15 years and older during the COVID-19 pandemic using a quasi-experimental design to disentangle the lockdown effect. METHODS: We analysed data from ten annual waves (2011-20) of the longitudinal Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to identify changes in the mental health of respondents from the pre-COVID-19 period (2011-19) to the COVID-19 period (2020). Difference-in-differences models were used to compare these changes between respondents in the state of Victoria who were exposed to lockdown at the time of the 2020 interviews (treatment group) and respondents living elsewhere in Australia (who were living relatively free of restrictions; control group). The models included state, year (survey wave), and person-specific fixed effects. Mental health was assessed using the five-item Mental Health Inventory (MHI-5), which was included in the self-complete questionnaire administered during the survey. FINDINGS: The analysis sample comprised 151 583 observations obtained from 20 839 individuals from 2011 to 2020. The treatment group included 3568 individuals with a total of 37 578 observations (34 010 in the pre-COVID-19 and 3568 in the COVID-19 period), and the control group included 17 271 individuals with 114 005 observations (102 867 in the pre-COVID-19 and 11 138 in the COVID-19 period). Mean MHI-5 scores did not differ between the treatment group (72·9 points [95% CI 72·8-73·2]) and control group (73·2 points [73·1-73·3]) in the pre-COVID-19 period. In the COVID-19 period, decreased mean scores were seen in both the treatment group (69·6 points [69·0-70·2]) and control group (70·8 points [70·5-71·2]). Difference-in-differences estimation showed a small but statistically significant effect of lockdown on MHI-5 scores, with greater decline for residents of Victoria in 2020 than for those in the rest of Australia (difference -1·4 points [95% CI -1·7 to -1·2]). Stratified analyses showed that this lockdown effect was larger for females (-2·2 points [-2·6 to -1·7]) than for males (-0·6 [-0·8 to -0·5]), and even larger for women in couples with children younger than 15 years (-4·4 points [-5·0 to -3·8]), and for females who lived in flats or apartments (-4·1 points [-5·4 to -2·8]) or semi-detached houses, terraced houses, or townhouses (-4·8 points [-6·4 to -3·2]). INTERPRETATION: The imposition of lockdowns was associated with a modest negative change in overall population mental health. The results suggest that the mental health effects of lockdowns differ by population subgroups and for some might have exaggerated existing inequalities in mental health. Although lockdowns have been an important public health tool in suppressing community transmission of COVID-19, more research is needed into the potential psychosocial impacts of such interventions to inform their future use. FUNDING: US National Institutes of Health.
  • Item
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Evaluating How Mental Health Changed in Australia through the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from the 'Taking the Pulse of the Nation' (TTPN) Survey
    Botha, F ; Butterworth, P ; Wilkins, R (MDPI, 2022-01-01)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health at the level of the population. The current study adds to the evidence base by examining how the prevalence of psychological distress changed in Australia during the pandemic. The study also assesses the psychometric properties of a new single-item measure of mental distress included in a survey program conducted regularly throughout the pandemic. Data are from 1158 respondents in wave 13 (early July 2020) of the nationally representative Taking the Pulse of the Nation (TTPN) Survey. The questionnaire included the six-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6) and a new single-item measure of distress. Results show a significant increase in the prevalence of psychological distress in Australia, from 6.3% pre-pandemic to 17.7% in early July 2020 (unadjusted odds ratio = 3.19; 95% CI (confidence interval) = 2.51 to 4.05). The new single-item measure of distress is highly correlated with the K6. This study provides a snapshot at one point in time about how mental health worsened in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, by demonstrating the accuracy of the new single-item measure of distress, this analysis also provides a basis for further research examining the trajectories and correlates of distress in Australia across the pandemic.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Bridging Classical and Revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory Research: A Longitudinal Analysis of a Large Population Study
    Espinoza Oyarce, DA ; Burns, R ; Butterworth, P ; Cherbuin, N (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-12-20)
    The reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) proposes that neurobiological systems mediate protective and appetitive behaviours and the functioning of these systems is associated to personality traits. In this manner, the RST is a link between neuroscience, behaviour, and personality. The theory evolved to the present revised version describing three systems: fight-flight-freezing, behavioural approach/activation (BAS), and behavioural inhibition (BIS). However, the most widely available measure of the theory, the BIS/BAS scales, only investigates two systems. Using a large longitudinal community survey, we found that the BIS/BAS scales can be re-structured to investigate the three systems of the theory with a BIS scale, three BAS scales, and a separate fight-flight-freezing system (FFFS) scale. The re-structured scales were age, sex, and longitudinally invariant, and associations with personality and mental health measures followed theoretical expectations and previously published associations. The proposed framework can be used to investigate behavioural choices influencing physical and mental health and bridge historical with contemporary research.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Is unemployment benefit stigma related to poverty, payment receipt, or lack of employment? A vignette experiment about Australian views
    Suomi, A ; Schofield, T ; Haslam, N ; Butterworth, P (Wiley, 2022-05-06)
    The present study sought to better understand the extent to which negative perceptions of people who receive unemployment benefits is due to their poverty status, their unemployment, and/or their receipt of income support payments. We sought to differentiate these three factors in a vignette-based experiment drawing on a large Australian general population sample (N = 778). Participants rated the personality and capability of two fictional characters. The key experimental manipulation of employment status and benefit receipt was embedded in description of other characteristics. Participants rated vignette characters who received unemployment benefits less favorably on personality (conscientiousness, emotional stability, agreeableness), competence, and warmth than characters described as having a job, as being poor, or as not having a job but without mention of receiving benefits. There was a gradient in the strength of negative assessments across these conditions, but only warmth, conscientiousness and employability distinguished between individuals receiving unemployment benefits and individuals without a job but no reference to benefit receipt. This study provides new insights showing that receiving benefits due to unemployment contributes to negative perceptions over and above the effects of poverty or being unemployed.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Young-adult compared to adolescent onset of regular cannabis use: A 20-year prospective cohort study of later consequences
    Chan, GCK ; Becker, D ; Butterworth, P ; Hines, L ; Coffey, C ; Hall, W ; Patton, G (WILEY, 2021-01-26)
    INTRODUCTION: This paper compares consequences of cannabis use initiated after high school with those of cannabis initiation in adolescence, with estimates of the proportion of adverse consequences accounted for by adult-onset and adolescent-onset cannabis users. METHODS: A state-representative sample in Victoria, Australia (n = 1792) participated in a 10-wave longitudinal study and was followed from age 15 to 35 years. Exposure variable: Patterns of cannabis use across 20 years. Outcomes at age 35: Alcohol use, smoking, illicit drug use, relationship status, financial hardship, depression, anxiety and employment status. RESULTS: Substantially more participants (13.6%) initiated regular use after high school (young-adult onset) than in adolescence (7.7%, adolescent onset). By the mid-30s, both young-adult and adolescent-onset regular users were more likely than minimal/non-users (63.5%) to have used other illicit drugs (odds ratio [OR] > 20.4), be a high-risk alcohol drinker (OR > 3.7), smoked daily (OR > 7.2) and less likely to be in relationships (OR < 0.4). As the prevalence of the young-adult-onset group was nearly double of the adolescent-onset group, it accounted for a higher proportion of adverse consequences than the adolescent-onset group. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Cannabis users who began regular use in their teens had poorer later life outcomes than non-using peers. The larger group who began regular cannabis use after leaving high school accounted for most cannabis-related harms in adulthood. Given the legalisation of cannabis use in an increasing number of jurisdictions, we should increasingly expect harms from cannabis use to lie in those commencing use in young adulthood.
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    How does working nonstandard hours impact psychological resources important for parental functioning? Evidence from an Australian longitudinal cohort study
    Zhao, Y ; Cooklin, A ; Butterworth, P ; Strazdins, L ; Leach, LS (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-09-27)
    This study investigates the link between nonstandard schedules and three psychological resources salient to working parents' parental functioning (psychological distress, work-family conflict and relationship quality). Data from fathers and mothers are analysed separately, using a nationally representative sample of dual-earner parents (6190 observations from 1915 couples) drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). The LSAC data was collected between 2008 and 2018 (with data collected every two years). Hybrid analysis models were conducted to identify within-person changes in these psychological resources in association with moving in and out of nonstandard work schedules, as well as between-person differences between parents working standard hours and nonstandard hours. The results indicate that the connections between working nonstandard schedules and the psychological resources were patterned differently across genders. No significant differences in psychological distress were found between those working nonstandard schedules and those working standard schedules for either fathers or mothers. Fathers working nonstandard schedules had higher work-family conflict compared to fathers working standard schedules, while no such effect found for mothers. This effect for fathers was largely explained by other characteristics related to working a nonstandard schedule, rather than the schedule itself. For fathers (but not mothers), working nonstandard schedules was significantly, and potentially causally, associated with lower relationship quality (i.e. within-person effects were found). Additional supplementary analyses found the connections between work schedules and psychological resources varied somewhat across different types of schedules (i.e. evening/night shift, rotating shift and irregular shift). As one of the first nationally representative longitudinal studies to explore changes in work schedules in association with changes in parents' psychosocial resources, the impacts for fathers (particularly relationship quality) are an important line for future enquiry.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Do gender and psychosocial job stressors modify the relationship between disability and sickness absence: An investigation using 12 waves of a longitudinal cohort.
    Milner, A ; Aitken, Z ; Byars, S ; Butterworth, P ; Kavanagh, A (Nordic Association of Occupational Safety and Health, 2020-01-01)
    Objectives A considerable proportion of the working population reports a disability. These workers may be at risk of adverse outcomes, including longer periods of sickness absence. This study examined the causal effect of disability on sickness absence and the role of psychosocial job stressors and gender as effect modifiers. Methods Data on paid and unpaid sick leave, disability (yes/no) and psychosocial job stressors were available from 2005 to 2017 from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Negative binomial models were used to model the rate of sickness absence in a year. Results In the random effects model, workers with disability had 1.20 greater rate of sickness absence in a year [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.17-1.23, P<0.001] after adjustment for confounders. The rate was slightly lower in the fixed effects model. There was evidence of multiplicative interaction of the effect by gender and job control. The effect of disability on sickness absence was greater among men than women, and higher for people with low job control compared to those with high job control. Conclusions There is a need for more research about the factors that can reduce sickness leave among workers with disabilities.