Objective To examine the association between labour force status, including young people who were unemployed and having problems looking for work, and psychological distress one year later. We then assessed whether this association is modified by disability status.
Methods We used three waves of cohort data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth. We fitted logistic regression models to account for confounders of the relationship between labour force status (employed, not in the labour force, unemployed and having problems looking for work) at age 21 years and psychological distress at age 22 years. We then estimated whether this association was modified by disability status at age 21 years.
Results Being unemployed and having problems looking for work at age 21 years was associated with odds of psychological distress that were 2.48 (95% CI 1.95 to 3.14) times higher than employment. There was little evidence for additive effect measure modification of this association by disability status (2.52, 95% CI −1.21 to 6.25).
Conclusions Young people who were unemployed and having problems looking for work had increased odds of poor mental health. Interventions should focus on addressing the difficulties young people report when looking for work, with a particular focus on supporting those young people facing additional barriers to employment such as young people with disabilities.
- disabled persons
- public health
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Contributors MS and AM conceived and designed the study. MS performed the analysis and drafted the manuscript. SD, TLK, AK, MJS and GD contributed to the interpretation of the findings and writing and revision of the manuscript. SD, TLK, AK, MJS and GD provided critical feedback on the manuscript. MS, SD, TLK, AK, MJS and GD contributed to the manuscript revisions. MS, SD, TLK, AK, MJS and GD approved the final manuscript.
Funding MS is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship provided by the Australian Commonwealth Government and a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Partnership Project (APP1151843) funded by the Australian Government. TLK is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE200100607). MJS is a recipient of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (project number FT180100075) funded by the Australian Government. GD is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia funded Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (APP1116385) and ARC Discovery Project DP170101434. This research has been funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Partnership Project (APP1151843) funded by the Australian Government, and a Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowship.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) study adheres to the guidelines set out by the National Health and Medical Research Council’s National Statement on the Ethical Conduct of Human Research. The fieldwork, conducted by Wallis Market & Social Research, is compliant with the international ISO 20252 market research standard. Participants gave informed consent before taking part in the LSAY study.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement LSAY unit record files are held by the Australian Data Archive (ADA) at the Australian National University. Access to data is free via a formal request and registration with the ADA. Individuals can register and request data at this website: https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/.
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