Gendered associations between household labour force participation and mental health using 17 waves of Australian cohort data
AuthorKing, TL; Taouk, Y; LaMontagne, AD; Maheen, H; Kavanagh, AM
Source TitleSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology: the international journal for research in social and genetic epidemiology and mental health services
University of Melbourne Author/sKing, Tania; Kavanagh, Anne; Maheen, Humaira; Lamontagne, Anthony; Taouk, Yamna; Taouk, Yamna
AffiliationMelbourne School of Population and Global Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsKing, T. L., Taouk, Y., LaMontagne, A. D., Maheen, H. & Kavanagh, A. M. (2020). Gendered associations between household labour force participation and mental health using 17 waves of Australian cohort data. SOCIAL PSYCHIATRY AND PSYCHIATRIC EPIDEMIOLOGY, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-020-01970-1.
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PURPOSE: There is some evidence that employed women report more time pressure and work-life penalties than employed men and other women; however little is known about whether this exerts a mental health effect. This analysis examined associations between household labour force arrangements (household-employment configuration) and the mental health of men and women. METHODS: Seventeen waves of data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics Survey (2001-2017) were used. Mental health was measured using the Mental Health Inventory (MHI-5). A six-category measure of household-employment configuration was derived: dual full-time employed, male-breadwinner, female-breadwinner, shared part-time employment (both part-time), male full-time/female part-time (modified male-breadwinner, MMBW), and female full-time/male part-time. Using fixed-effects regression methods, we examined the within-person effects of household-employment configuration on mental health after controlling for time-varying confounders. RESULTS: For men, being in the female-breadwinner configuration was associated with poorer mental health compared to being in the MMBW configuration (β-1.98, 95% CI - 3.36, - 0.61). The mental health of women was poorer when in the male-breadwinner configuration, compared to when in the MMBW arrangement (β-0.89, 95% CI - 1.56, - 0.22). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that the mental health of both men and women is poorer when not in the labour force, either as a man in the female-breadwinner arrangement, or as a woman in the male-breadwinner arrangement. These results are particularly noteworthy for women, because they pertain to a sizeable proportion of the population who are not in paid work, and highlight the need for policy reform to support women's labour force participation.
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