The associations between work stress and mental health: A comparison of organizationally employed and self- employed workers




Parslow, Ruth
Jorm, Anthony F
Christensen, Helen
Strazdins, Lyndall
D'Souza, Rennie
Rodgers, Bryan

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Taylor & Francis Group


This study examined the associations between work Stressors and mental health in organizationally employed and self-employed workers, and with the numbers of general practitioner (GP) services used by these two employment groups. The participants were selected from those already taking part in the PATH Through Life Project, in Australia. A total of 2275 men and women aged from 40 to 44 years participated in a community survey and were in the labour force at the time of the interview. Those who participated entered responses into a hand-held computer under the supervision of an interviewer. A total of 14.2% of the group identified themselves as self-employed. Respondents also provided details of their occupation and the extent to which they experienced work Stressors. Some 72.6% of these participants gave consent for information on their use of GP services over a 12-month period to be obtained from national insurance records. We found that self-employed men and women reported more decision authority than the organizationally employed, while self-employed women also had more manageable job demands. Self-employment offered men no health benefit. However, women who were self-employed reported worse physical health than their organizationally employed counterparts. While work stress factors were most likely to be associated with the use of GP services by self-employed men, the use of those services by women was more strongly associated with their experiences of stress in organizational employment. Overall, self-employment was found to be associated with relatively few mental health benefits.



Keywords: adult; article; Australia; computer; disease association; employment; female; general practitioner; health insurance; health survey; human; interview; major clinical study; male; mental health; stress; trade union GP service use; Mental health; Self-employed; Work stress



Work and Stress


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