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Do psychosocial job stressors influence mental health service use? Evidence from an Australian cohort


Objectives There is strong evidence of a relationship between psychosocial job stressors and mental health at the population level. There has been no longitudinal research on whether the experience of job stressors is also associated with greater mental health service use. We seek to fill this gap.

Methods The Household Income Labour Dynamics in Australia survey cohort was used to assess the relationship between exposure to self-reported psychosocial job quality and reporting attendance at a mental health professional during the past 12 months. We adjusted for time-varying and time-invariant confounders. The study was conducted in 2009 and 2013.

Results In the random effects logistic regression model, increasing exposure to psychosocial job stressors was associated with an increased odds of mental health service use after adjustment (one stressor: OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.56; two stressors: OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.73; three stressors: OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.28 to 2.57). However, once the between person effects were controlled in a fixed effects model, the within-person association between change in job stressors and change in mental health service use was estimated to be close to zero and not significant.

Conclusions More work is needed to understand the relationship between job stressors and service use. However, when taken with past findings on job stressors and mental health, these findings highlight the importance of considering policy and clinical practice responses to adverse working contexts.

  • job stress
  • mental health
  • health services research

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