Gain of employment and depressive symptoms among previously unemployed workers: A longitudinal cohort study in South Korea

Seung-Sup Kim, Carles Muntaner, Hyun Kim, Christie Y. Jeon, Melissa J. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The goal of this study is to examine the association between gain of employment and depressive symptoms among previously unemployed workers in South Korea. Methods: Using data from the on-going Korean Welfare Panel Study, we determined four different employment statuses (i.e., unemployment, part-time precarious, full-time precarious, full-time permanent employment) at follow up (2008 or 2010) among the unemployed at baseline (2007 or 2009) and examined their association with depressive symptoms after excluding the people with depressive symptoms at baseline (N=308). Depressive symptoms were assessed annually using the 11-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Results: After adjusting for covariates including health-related variables, unemployed individuals who gained full-time permanent employment (RR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.83) and those who gained full-time precarious employment (RR: 0.26, 95% CI: 0.11, 0.63) were less likely to have depressive symptoms compared to those with persistent unemployment. In a subpopulation analysis conducted after additionally excluding the people with depressive symptoms 1 year before baseline, only the association between gaining full-time permanent employment and depressive symptoms was significant (RR: 0.27, 95% CI: 0.08, 0.86). Conclusions: Our findings highlight the benefits of full-time permanent employment on worker's mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1250
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct 1



  • Depressive symptoms
  • Precarious employment
  • South Korea
  • Unemployment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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