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Employment status, working conditions and depressive symptoms among German employees born in 1959 and 1965

Purpose: We investigated whether (1) current employment status (regular full-time, regular part-time and marginal employment) is associated with depressive symptoms and (2) whether these associations are mediated by current working conditions and previous employment history.

Methods: Two cohorts of German employees aged 46 and 52 years were selected from administrative data of the German Federal Employment Agency and answered questions about depressive symptoms (we use an applied version of BDI-V) and their current working conditions. In addition, the participants gave written consent to link register data regarding their employment histories (n = 4,207). Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted.

Results: Men experienced elevated depressive symptoms when working regular part-time; women experienced such symptoms when engaged in marginal employment. These associations decreased when we adjusted for job insecurity and rose slightly when we adjusted for leadership quality. Men and women who reported a low level of influence at work showed a higher risk of depressive symptoms. For women, the association between current employment position and depressive symptoms could be partly explained by low levels of influence at work. For men, the association between depressive symptoms and current regular part-time employment decreased when we adjusted for previous part-time employment. Conversely, for women, the association with depressive symptoms increased in current regular part-time and marginal employment when we adjusted for employment history.

Conclusions: In both genders, the observed associations between depressive symptoms and current employment status were mediated by both current psychosocial conditions and employment history. Employees not having a regular full-time job differed from full-time employees with respect to both their current working conditions and their employment history.

This article is published in the Journal "International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health" (Volume 88, Issue 6, pp. 731-741).

First Online: 22 November 2014

Bibliographic information

H. Burr, A. Rauch, U. Rose, A. Tisch, S. Tophoven:
Employment status, working conditions and depressive symptoms among German employees born in 1959 and 1965. 
in: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, Volume 88, Issue 6 2015. pages 731-741, Project number: F 2295, DOI: 10.1007/s00420-014-0999-5

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Research Project

Project numberF 2295 StatusCompleted Project Work, Age and Health

Find out more : Work, Age and Health …