Saf Health Work.  2021 Mar;12(1):108-113. 10.1016/

Employment Status Change and New-Onset Depressive Symptoms in Permanent Waged Workers

  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul, Republic of Korea


This study aimed to investigate the relationship between changes in employment status and new-onset depressive symptoms through a one-year follow-up of permanent waged workers.
We analyzed the open-source data from the Korea Welfare Panel Study. Using the 2017 data, we selected 2,314 permanent waged workers aged 19 to 59 years without depressive symptoms as a base group. The final analysis targeted 2,073 workers who were followed up in 2018. In 2018, there were five categories of employment status for workers who were followed up: permanent, precarious, unemployed, self-employed, and economically inactive. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine the association between employment status change and new-onset depressive symptoms.
Adjusted multiple logistic regression analysis showed that among male workers, workers who went from permanent status to being unemployed (odds ratio: 4.50, 95% confidence interval: 1.19 to 17.06) and from permanent status to being precarious workers (odds ratio: 3.15, 95% confidence interval: 1.30 to 7.65) had significantly high levels of new-onset depressive symptoms compared with those who retained their permanent employment status. There were no significant increases in new-onset depressive symptoms of male workers who went from permanent status to being self-employed or economically inactive. On the other hand, no significant differences were found among female workers.
Our study suggests that the change of employment status to precarious workers or unemployment can cause new-onset depressive symptoms in male permanent waged workers.


Depressive symptoms; Employment status; Permanent waged worker; Precarious worker; Unemployment
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