Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2024;50(3):218-227    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.4150 | Published online: 10 Mar 2024, Issue date: 01 Apr 2024

Change in employment status and its causal effect on suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms: A marginal structural model with machine learning algorithms

by Yoon J, Kim J-H, Chung Y, Park J, Leigh J-H, Kim S-S

Objective This study aimed to assess the causal effect of a change in employment status on suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms by applying marginal structural models (MSM) with machine-learning (ML) algorithms.

Methods We analyzed data from the 8–15th waves (2013–2020) of the Korean Welfare Panel Study, a nationally representative longitudinal dataset. Our analysis included 13 294 observations from 3621 participants who had standard employment at baseline (2013–2019). Based on employment status at follow-up year (2014–2020), respondents were classified into two groups: (i) maintained standard employment (reference group), (ii) changed to non-standard employment. Suicidal ideation during the past year and depressive symptoms during the past week were assessed through self-report questionnaire. To apply the ML algorithms to the MSM, we conducted eight ML algorithms to build the propensity score indicating a change in employment status. Then, we applied the MSM to examine the causal effect by using inverse probability weights calculated based on the propensity score from ML algorithms.

Results The random forest algorithm performed best among all algorithms, showing the highest area under the curve 0.702, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.686–0.718. In the MSM with the random forest algorithm, workers who changed from standard to non-standard employment were 2.07 times more likely to report suicidal ideation compared to those who maintained standard employment (95% CI 1.16–3.70). A similar trend was observed in the analysis of depressive symptoms.

Conclusions This study found that a change in employment status could lead to a higher risk of suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2019;45(5):429-443  2017;43(5):457-464  2014;40(4):343-352  2012;38(6):537-545
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