Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2023;49(8):598-609    pdf full text

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.4123 | Published online: 10 Oct 2023, Issue date: 01 Nov 2023

The impact of employment on mental healthcare use among people with disability: distinguishing between part- and full-time employment

by Saxby K, Dickinson H, Petrie D, Kavanagh A, Aitken Z

Objective Employment can improve mental health among people with disability (PWD), however, little is known about how different levels of workforce participation influence mental healthcare use. The aim of this study was to estimate the extent to which different levels of working hours are associated with changes in mental healthcare use among PWD.

Methods Data on working hours and healthcare use among working age PWD who were receiving government benefits (N=260 825) was obtained from Australian Census-linked administrative records between 2011 and 2019. Individual fixed effects panel models were used to estimate the impact of increased working hours on mental healthcare (services and prescriptions). Heterogeneity analyses by job security and key sociodemographic characteristics were conducted.

Results Compared to not working, we found that working 1–14, 15–29, and ≥30 hours per week was respectively associated with a 3.3%, 18.0%, and 9.9% reduction in the use of mental healthcare prescriptions as well as a 6.8%, 18.4%, and 22.3% reduction in the use of mental healthcare services by PWD. The effects were larger for PWD in more secure work and those living in rural and disadvantaged areas.

Conclusions Working more hours was associated with reduced mental healthcare use among PWD. Policy interventions should consider the broader benefits of enabling part-time and secure work placements for PWD, particularly for those living in rural and disadvantaged regions.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2017;43(5):447-456  2017;43(6):540-549  2019;45(2):203-208  2022;48(2):148-157
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