Background: In many countries, including South Korea, labour market changes have led to an increase in unstable, temporary jobs. There is evidence that workers in such jobs may experience poorer mental health than those in more stable employment.
Aims: To investigate the association between temporary employment and depressive symptoms in South Korean workers.
Methods: We analysed data from the 2010-2014 Korean Welfare Panel Study (KOWEPS). Employment type was categorized into workers paid per day of labour (day labourers), those on short-term contracts (fixed-term workers) and permanent workers. The association between employment type and depressive symptoms, measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D 11), was examined using the generalized estimating equation model.
Results: A total of 3756 workers aged 20-59 were included in the 2010 baseline population. Day labourers had the highest mean CES-D 11 score, followed by fixed-term workers and permanent workers. With the day labourer group as reference, fixed-term workers (β: -1.5027, P < 0.001) and permanent workers (β: -2.1848, P < 0.001) showed statistically significant decreases in depression scores.
Conclusions: Compared with day labourers, fixed-term workers and permanent workers had progressively lower depression scores. The findings of this study suggest that mental health inequalities based on employment type exist in South Korea.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health