Objectives: This study investigated the association between employment status and depression. Methods: Data from the Korea Welfare Panel Study (KOWEPS) collected from 2008 to 2011 were used. A total of 7368 subjects were included in this study after exclusion of subjects with missing data and those who were self-employed or could not work. Depression was assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Employment status, age, sex, region, education, marital status, income, head of household, self-rated health, smoking status, drinking habits, and the current year's and the previous year's CES-D scores were included in the model as independent variables. A generalised linear mixedeffects model for longitudinal binary data was used. Results: Compared with those who were permanently employed, individuals who moved from permanent to precarious employment (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.70) or to unemployment (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.43) and from precarious employment to unemployment (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.32 to 2.06) showed a significantly increased the odds of having depression. Continuing precarious employment (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.30 to 1.83) or unemployment (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.70) also significantly increased the odds of having depression. These results were particularly identified in men and head of household women. The effects were not significant among nonhead of household women. Conclusions: Precarious employment and unemployment were clearly associated with having depression. In addition, in view of our findings, policy makers should consider sex and head of household status when developing welfare policies. The inequity between precarious jobs and permanent jobs should be tackled.
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