Article

The stability of correlates of labour force activity

Policy and Economics Group, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (Impact Factor: 5.61). 12/2008; 119(5):393-405. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2008.01303.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

To investigate the stability of correlates of labour force activity among people with affective and anxiety disorders, compared with healthy adults, between 1998 and 2003.
Secondary analyses of multi-stage probability samples of community residents (n(1998)=37,580 and n(2003)=36,088) obtained from repeat administrations of an Australian population survey.
Proportionally, fewer people with affective or anxiety disorders were employed compared with well controls. Extent of employment restrictions, sex, age left school, country of birth, age and educational attainment were strong correlates of labour force participation and current employment. These effects were stable despite improved labour market conditions in 2003.
These results can inform decisions about access to substantial forms of employment assistance. Subgroups of people with anxiety and depression, with severe employment restrictions, low education, low language proficiency, aged 15-24 years, or aged 55 years or more, may require greater access to substantial employment assistance.

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    • "In addition, employment is increasingly seen as a proxy for community participation, recovery, economic participation and social inclusion. These concepts are assuming an increasing importance in community mental health policy and disability employment policy (Waghorn et al., 2009a, b). Their application in national mental health policies implies a need for greater clarity about whether labour force participation can, or cannot, indicate recovery and social inclusion, and whether employment rates are universally associated with relative severity of psychiatric disorders. "
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    ABSTRACT: At a population level the extent that psychiatric disorders and other health conditions disrupt participation in education and employment is rarely considered simultaneously and remains largely unknown. This is an important issue because policy makers are as concerned with educational attainment, school to work transitions, and workforce skills, as they are with overall labour force participation. We investigated earning or learning, and educational attainment, among Australian community residents by age group and by category of psychiatric disorder. Data files were provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from a population survey conducted in 2003 using a multi-stage probability sample (N=23,787). Adults with schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders were compared to (1) working age adults with other non-psychiatric health conditions and disabilities; and (2) healthy adults of working age. Participation in formal education and employment was extensively disrupted by all health conditions and by psychiatric disorders in particular. The extent of career-related disruption provides benchmarks for policy makers and service providers attempting to increase participation in formal education and in the labour force.
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