Temporary work and depressive symptoms in South Korean workers

W. Kim, T. H. Kim, T. H. Lee, Y. J. Ju, S. Y. Chun, E. C. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background In many countries, including South Korea, labour market changes have led to an increase in unstable, temporary jobs.There is evidence that workers in such jobs may experience poorer mental health than those in more stable employment. Aims To investigate the association between temporary employment and depressive symptoms in South Korean workers. Methods We analysed data from the 2010–2014 Korean Welfare Panel Study (KOWEPS). Employment type was categorized into workers paid per day of labour (day labourers), those on short-term contracts (fixed-term workers) and permanent workers.The association between employment type and depressive symptoms, measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D 11), was examined using the generalized estimating equation model. Results A total of 3756 workers aged 20–59 were included in the 2010 baseline population. Day labourers had the highest mean CES-D 11 score, followed by fixed-term workers and permanent workers. With the day labourer group as reference, fixed-term workers (β: −1.5027, P < 0.001) and permanent workers (β: −2.1848, P < 0.001) showed statistically significant decreases in depression scores. Conclusions Compared with day labourers, fixed-term workers and permanent workers had progressively lower depression scores.The findings of this study suggest that mental health inequalities based on employment type exist in South Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-424
Number of pages4
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Occupational Medicine. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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