Mental health symptoms among dependent contractors in Korea: A cross-sectional study based on the Fifth Korean Working Condition Survey

Seong Uk Baek, Sung Shil Lim, Sehyun Yun, Won Tae Lee, Min Seok Kim, Jin Ha Yoon, Jong Uk Won

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Recently, there has been a call to improve the holistic welfare of dependent contractors (DCs). Thus, our study examined the relationship between DCs and mental health symptoms and how this relationship was modified by age, sex, and income status of workers. Methods: A total of 27,980 workers from the Fifth Korean Working Conditions Survey are included in our study. The participants who reported having depression or anxiety over the last 12 months are defined those who had mental health symptoms. We performed exact matching for age group and sex, followed by conditional logistic regression with survey weights. Finally, stratified analyses by age, sex and income level were conducted. Results: DCs were found to be at increased risk of depression/anxiety compared to other workers. The odds ratio (OR) is 1.52 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.06-2.17). In the stratified analyses, vulnerable groups were middle-aged (OR [95% CI]: 1.68 [1.10-2.54]), female (OR [95% CI]: 1.85 [1.20-2.84]), and low-income (OR [95% CI]: 3.18 [1.77-5.73]) workers. Conclusions: Our study's results reinforce those of other studies that show that DCs are at greater risk of experiencing mental health issues than other workers and that and this risk is greater for middle-aged, female, and low-income workers. These results suggest that appropriate policy efforts should be made to improve the psychological well-being of DCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1
JournalAnnals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the survey participants and Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute (OSHRI) for providing raw Korean Working Conditions Survey (KWCS) data. The paper's contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of OSHRI.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Korean Society of Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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