The effects of on-call work on mental health issues among wage workers in the Republic of Korea

Jae Jun Lee, Eun Cheol Park, Hyunju Ji, Sung In Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


On-call workers are often on standby at night or on weekends and are called to perform work when unanticipated incidents occur. However, the effects of on-call duty on the mental health has received little attention. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of on-call work on mental health problems among Korean wage workers. Korean wage workers (56,553) from the 2011–2014 Korean Working Condition Survey were enrolled. The outcome measures included insomnia or sleep disorder and depression or anxiety disorder. General characteristics, occupational and work environment characteristics were used to adjust for control variables. Among the Korean wage workers, 8.2% (N=4,653) performed on-call duties. On-call workers were more likely to experience insomnia or sleep disturbance (3.8%vs2.4%; p<.0001) and depression or anxiety disorder (2.2%vs1.2%; p<.0001) than those who did not have on-call duties. After adjusting for control variables, the odds ratio (OR) for insomnia or sleep disturbance was 1.56 (95% CI, 1.23–1.99), and the OR for depression or anxiety disorder was 2.23 (95% CI, 1.61–3.08). In conclusion, on-call work was associated with mental health problems in Korean wage workers. Therefore, we need to understand the problems of on-call workers, and try to improve their health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-686
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine [6-2017-0157].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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