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Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health Problems, and the Role of Perceived Social Support in University Graduates in Korea

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Background Increases in unemployment and suicide in the young Korean population have recently become major social concerns in the country. The purpose of this study was to examine mental health status in young job seekers and identify sociodemographic factors related to job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. We also explored the mediating effect of depression on the relationship between job-seeking stress and suicidal ideation and examined whether social support moderated this effect. Methods In total, 124 university graduates completed the Job-Seeking Stress Scale, Beck Depression Inventory-II, Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Descriptive statistics were calculated for participants' general characteristics, and t-tests or analyses of variance, correlation analysis, simple mediation analysis, and mediated moderation analysis were performed. Results Of the 124 participants, 39.5% and 15.3% exhibited clinical levels of depression and suicidal ideation, respectively. Sociodemographic factors (i.e., sex, academic major, educational expenses loan, and willingness to accept irregular employment) were associated with job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. Women and graduates who were willing to accept irregular employment exhibited high levels of job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. Job-seeking stress affected suicidal ideation via depression, and perceived social support moderated the effect of job-seeking stress on depression and the effect of depression on suicidal ideation. Conclusion The results suggest that depression management and interventions are urgently required for young job seekers, and social support should be provided to assist them both emotionally and economically.
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ABSTRACT
Background: Increases in unemployment and suicide in the young Korean population have
recently become major social concerns in the country. The purpose of this study was to
examine mental health status in young job seekers and identify sociodemographic factors
related to job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. We also explored the
mediating eect of depression on the relationship between job-seeking stress and suicidal
ideation and examined whether social support moderated this eect.
Methods: In total, 124 university graduates completed the Job-Seeking Stress Scale, Beck
Depression Inventory-II, Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, and Multidimensional Scale of
Perceived Social Support. Descriptive statistics were calculated for participants' general
characteristics, and t-tests or analyses of variance, correlation analysis, simple mediation
analysis, and mediated moderation analysis were performed.
Results: Of the 124 participants, 39.5% and 15.3% exhibited clinical levels of depression
and suicidal ideation, respectively. Sociodemographic factors (i.e., sex, academic major,
educational expenses loan, and willingness to accept irregular employment) were associated
with job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. Women and graduates who
were willing to accept irregular employment exhibited high levels of job-seeking stress,
depression, and suicidal ideation. Job-seeking stress aected suicidal ideation via
depression, and perceived social support moderated the eect of job-seeking stress on
depression and the eect of depression on suicidal ideation.
Conclusion: The results suggest that depression management and interventions are urgently
required for young job seekers, and social support should be provided to assist them both
emotionally and economically.
Keywords: Job-seeking Stress; Depression; Suicidal Ideation; Social Support
J Korean Med Sci. 2018 May 7;33(19):e149
https://doi.org/10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e149
eISSN 1598-6357·pISSN 1011-8934
Original Article
Ah Young Lim ,1,2 Seung-Hee Lee ,3 Yeongju Jeon ,4 Rankyung Yoo ,5 and
Hee-Yeon Jung 1,6,7
1
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical
Center, Seoul, Korea
2Department of Clinical Psychology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
3Department of Medical Education, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
4
Department of Psychiatry, Hallym University Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College
of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
5Police Mind Health Center, Ajou University Medical Center, Suwon, Korea
6Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
7Institute of Human Behavioral Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health
Problems, and the Role of Perceived
Social Support in University
Graduates in Korea
Received: Jan 15, 2018
Accepted: Mar 20, 2018
Address for Correspondence:
Hee-Yeon Jung, MD, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Metropolitan
Government-Seoul National University
Boramae Medical Center, 20 Boramae-ro 5-gil,
Dongjak-gu, Seoul 07061, Korea.
E-mail: hyjung@snu.ac.kr
© 2018 The Korean Academy of Medical
Sciences.
This is an Open Access article distributed
under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution Non-Commercial License (https://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/)
which permits unrestricted non-commercial
use, distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is properly
cited.
ORCID iDs
Ah Young Lim
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7006-1808
Seung-Hee Lee
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8672-5253
Yeongju Jeon
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0283-5066
Rankyung Yoo
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7298-2790
Hee-Yeon Jung
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0578-2211
Funding
This research was supported by Korea
Association for Suicide Prevention and funded
by Life Insurance Philanthropy Foundation
(grant number, 2014-1215-003).
Psychiatry & Psychology
Disclosure
The authors have no potential conflicts of
interest to disclose.
Author Contributions
Conceptualization: Jung HY, Lim AY. Data
curation: Lee SH. Formal analysis: Lim AY,
Jeon YJ, Yoo RK. Funding acquisition: Jung HY.
Supervision: Jung HY. Writing - original draft:
Lim AY, Jeon YJ, Yoo RK. Writing - review &
editing: Lim AY, Lee SH, Jung HY.
INTRODUCTION
Sigmund Freud posited that work and love were the most important factors aecting
humanness. With respect to work, unemployment in young people has become a global
threat, and those who fail to achieve economic and psychological independence through
stable employment tend to be reluctant to engage with others. In addition, young people
deprived of work and love nd it dicult to maintain their hopes for the future. According to
the National Statistical Oce of Korea, the 2016 overall average unemployment rate in Korea
was between 4% and 5%, while that recorded for young people was between 9% and 10%.1
However, this did not reect the reality of the situation accurately, as it targeted individuals
aged 15–29 years. According to 2015 statistics, 45% of the Korean population had completed
higher education.2 Moreover, young people enter the employment market later because of an
increase in the duration of their education and the continued economic downturn. Therefore,
unemployed young people oen refers to those who have been unable to secure employment
aer graduating from college, and the Korea Labor Institute reported that the unemployment
rate for university graduates was 38.3% in 2011.3 This percentage is about four times that
reported by the National Statistical Oce.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that unemployment exerted a negative impact on
mental health. For example, unemployment in young people has been reported to cause
depression, alcohol abuse, and drug use4,5 and associated with lower self-esteem and levels
of satisfaction with life.6,7 Furthermore, it has been linked to the high suicide mortality rate
in Korea, which is 25.6 per 100,000 population and the highest of those reported for the 34
organization for economic cooperation and development countries.8 Moreover, according
to the National Statistical Oce of Korea, suicide is the leading cause of death for Korean
people in their 20s and 30s.9 In addition, in a previous study, economic diculties and
work-related problems (e.g., unemployment) were identied as the main factors aecting
suicidal impulses in people in their 20s.10 As suicide has become a serious social problem,
research has been conducted to identify the correlates of suicide and develop prevention
strategies. Depression is generally considered the strongest risk factor for suicide.11-14 In
addition, in previous research involving young job seekers, it was reported to mediate the
relationship between job stress and suicide.15 In contrast, social support has been identied
as a protective factor against suicide16,17 and is known to regulate the eects of stress on
depression.18 Moreover, it is particularly important to study the role of social support
for mental health problems in young job seekers, because they stand at the crossroads of
independence and are vulnerable to deviance and loneliness. Furthermore, unemployed
people's social connections are likely to deteriorate because of their lower self-esteem and
the time required to prepare for job interviews.
Although young job seekers are exposed to considerable stress and vulnerable to mental
disorders and suicide, few studies have been conducted to examine their mental health. As
unemployment is considered a direct cause of stress, unemployed people tend to believe
that all their mental health problems will be alleviated if they secure employment. However,
employment involves both personal and social factors. Moreover, indierence and lack of
social support could leave young job seekers in a state of crisis. In addition, stress, depression,
and suicidal ideation are likely to create a vicious cycle by increasing the diculty experienced
in securing employment. Therefore, the aims of the study were to; 1) examine mental health
conditions, such as job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation, in young job seekers
who had graduated from university, 2) identify sociodemographic factors aecting job-seeking
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Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health, and Social Support
stress, depression, and suicidal ideation, and 3) determine whether job-seeking stress aected
suicidal ideation via depression and whether social support moderated this eect.
METHODS
Participants and data collection
The participants were 124 university graduates aged between 22 and 38 years who were
actively seeking employment. The inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) graduation
from a 4-year university course, 2) voluntary postponement of graduation because of
unemployment, 3) graduation within the preceding 5 years, and 4) active job-seeking at the
time of the study. The exclusion criteria were as follows: 1) unwillingness to work and 2)
preparation for graduate school or study abroad.
The study was conducted via research cooperation involving 7 universities in Korea. In
addition, graduates from other universities were recruited by the study coordinators. The
participants completed several self-report questionnaires aer the study coordinator had
explained the details of the study. Data were collected from May 20 to July 31, 2014. Initially,
164 participants were enrolled in the study; however, data for 14 respondents who returned
incomplete questionnaires and 26 respondents who were unwilling to work were excluded
from the analysis. Therefore, the analysis ultimately included data for 124 participants.
Assessment by job-seeking stress scale
The Job-Seeking Stress Scale, which was revised by Heo19 with reference to Kang's20 and
Hwang's21 employment stress questionnaires based on the Cornell Medical Index at Cornell
university,22 was used to measure job-seeking stress. The Job-Seeking Stress Scale consists of
20 items divided between the following 5 subscales: personality stress, anxious stress, family
environment stress, employment market environment stress, and job ability stress. Responses
are provided using a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (very strongly disagree) to 4 (very
strongly agree). Cronbach's αs were 0.94 for the original scale and 0.89 in the current study.
The personality stress subscale includes 6 items pertaining to personality changes related to
unemployment (e.g., “I am nervous because of employment problems these days, and I get
angry at even the slightest thing”). The anxious stress subscale includes 3 items pertaining
to substance dependence (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, and drugs) and appetite changes triggered
by anxiety (e.g., “I have lost my appetite through worrying about employment”). The family
environment stress subscale measures the extent of subjective stress experienced in the
family environment (e.g., “My parents have economic problems, and I have to work to
solve them” and “My family does not give me advice when I worry about my employment
problems”). The employment market environment stress subscale measures levels of
dissatisfaction and stress related to the employment market environment (e.g., “There is a
mismatch between the employment conditions I desire and actual job oers”). The job ability
stress subscale consists of 4 items pertaining to self-condence and ecacy in relation to
employment (e.g., “I do not think I will be employed, because I do not have enough skills”).
Assessment by Korean Beck Depression Inventory-II
The Korean Beck Depression Inventory-II, which is a 21-item self-report measure of the severity
of current depressive symptoms, was used to measure depression. The Beck Depression
Inventory-II was originally developed by Beck et al.23 and translated into Korean and
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Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health, and Social Support
standardized by Kim et al.24 The items consist of groups of specic statements used to assess
symptom severity. Items receive scores ranging from 0 to 3, which are summed to obtain a total
scale score ranging from 0 to 63. For example, response options for the “worthlessness” item
are as follows: 0 (I do not feel like I am worthless), 1 (I don't consider myself as worthwhile
and useful as I used to be), 2 (I feel worthless compared to other people), and 3 (I feel utterly
worthless). The authors provided guidelines for clinical cuto scores, as follows: normal: 0–13,
mild: 14–19, moderate: 20–28, and severe: 29–63. Cronbach's α was 0.91 in the current study.
Assessment by Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation
The Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, which is a 19-item scale developed by Beck et al.11
to assess the severity of suicidal ideation and intention, was used to measure suicidal
ideation. Shin et al.25 translated the scale into Korean and modied it for use as a self-report
questionnaire. Responses are provided using a 3-point scale, and item scores are summed to
obtain a total scale score ranging from 0 to 38. Higher scores indicate higher levels of suicidal
ideation. For example, response options for the “How oen do you think that you want to
commit suicide?” item are as follows: 0 (hardly ever), 1 (sometimes), and 2 (always). The
clinical cuto scores are as follows: normal: 0–8, mild: 9–11, moderate: 12–14, and severe:
15–38. Cronbach's α were 0.81 for the original scale and 0.86 in the current study.
Assessment by Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support
The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, which is a 12-item self-report
scale that assesses perceived social support from three sources, namely, family, friends, and
signicant others, was used to measure perceived social support. The scale was developed
by Zimet et al.26 and translated by Shin et al.27 Each source is assessed using 4 specic
questions, with responses provided using a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (very strongly
disagree) to 7 (very strongly agree). Item scores are summed to obtain a total score ranging
from 12 to 84, and higher scores indicate higher levels of satisfaction with perceived support.
The scale demonstrated internal consistency 0.91 in a previous study,26 and Cronbach's α for
the overall scale was 0.95 in the current study.
Statistical analysis
The data were analyzed using IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 23
(IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). Descriptive statistics were calculated for participants'
general characteristics, and t-tests or analyses of variance were performed to examine
dierences in job-seeking stress, depression, suicidal ideation, and social support according
to sociodemographic factors. In addition, correlation analysis was performed to examine
relationships between the main variables.
We performed a simple mediation analysis and a mediated moderation analysis using
PROCESS MACRO version 2.16 in accordance with Hayes.28 The simple mediation model
(model 4) was used to test the hypothesis that depression would mediate the relationship
between job-seeking stress and suicidal ideation. The moderated-mediation model (model
58) was used to test the hypothesis that perceived social support would moderate the eects
of 1) job-seeking stress on depression and 2) depression on suicidal ideation. Moderated
values were examined at ± 1 standard deviation from the mean. Sex was controlled for as a
covariate in both models, because signicant dierences were observed between men and
women for almost all main variables. Both models included 10,000 bootstrap samples and
95% bias-corrected condence intervals (CIs), and results were considered signicant when
CIs did not include 0. Moderation was considered signicant at an α level of 0.05.
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Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health, and Social Support
Ethics statement
The present study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of
Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center (Reg.
No. 26-2014-40). Informed consent was submitted by all subjects when they were enrolled.
RESULTS
Descriptive statistics and group differences
The participants' characteristics are shown in Table 1. Their ages ranged from 22 to 38 (mean
= 25.87, standard deviation = 2.71) years, and 58.9% were women (n = 73).
Table 2 includes a summary of the sociodemographic characteristics for which signicant
dierences in job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation were observed. Women's
scores for the Job-Seeking Stress Scale were signicantly higher relative to those observed
for men. In addition, women reported higher levels of depression and suicidal ideation
relative to those reported by men. Participants with humanities or social science as an
academic major showed higher scores for the Job-Seeking Stress Scale relative to those
observed for participants with natural science or engineering as an academic major.
Participants with student loans showed higher family environment stress and employment
market environment stress relative to those observed for participants without student loans.
Participants who stated that they were willing to accept a temporary position showed higher
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Table 1. General characteristics of the study participants (n = 124)
Variables Categories No. (%)
Sex Males 51 (41.1)
Females 73 (58.9)
Age, yr ≤ 25 59 (47.6)
26–30 60 (48.4)
≥ 31 5 (4.0)
Major Humanities/social science 55 (44.4)
Natural science/engineering 32 (25.8)
Etc. 37 (29.8)
Religion Yes 53 (41.7)
No 71 (57.3)
Living Alone 28 (22.6)
Together 95 (76.6)
No response 1 (0.8)
Period after graduation, yr ≤ 1 61 (49.2)
1–3 24 (19.4)
≥ 3 38 (30.6)
No response 1 (0.8)
Student loan Ye s 28 (22.6)
No 95 (76.6)
No response 1 (0.8)
Household monthly income (10,000 KRW) ≤ 200 16 (12.9)
> 200, ≤ 400 34 (27.4)
> 400, ≤ 700 41 (33.1)
> 700 13 (10.5)
Don't know 20 (16.1)
Willing to accept irregular employment Yes 50 (40.3)
No 73 (58.9)
No response 1 (0.8)
Psychiatric history None 115 (93.0)
Presence 9 (7.0)
scores for the Job-Seeking Stress Scale, depression, and suicidal ideation relative to those
observed for participants who were not willing to accept a temporary position.
There were no signicant dierences in job-seeking stress, depression, or suicidal ideation
according to age, residence type, time since graduation, monthly household income, or
psychiatric history. Participants with a history of treatment or hospitalization (n = 9) for
psychiatric problems showed slightly higher scores relative to those observed in participants
with no history of psychiatric treatment; however, this dierence was insignicant.
Table 3 shows the proportions of participants who exhibited clinically signicant levels of
depression and suicidal ideation. In total, 39.5% (n = 49) of participants showed clinically
signicant levels of depression, classied as mild (n = 23), moderate (n = 18), or severe (n = 8).
In addition, 15.3% (n = 19) showed clinically signicant levels of suicidal ideation, classied as
mild (n = 5), moderate (n = 10), or severe (n = 4).
Correlations
Table 4 shows the positive correlations between job-seeking stress scores, including those for
all job-seeking stress subscales; depression; and suicidal ideation (
r
= 0.318–0.872;
P
< 0.001). Of the Job-Seeking Stress Scale subscales, internal factors such as personality
stress and ability stress were more strongly correlated with depression and suicidal ideation
(
r
= 0.557–0.610;
P
< 0.001) than external factors such as family environment stress and
employment market environment stress were (
r
= 0.365–0.393;
P
< 0.001). Social support was
negatively correlated with job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation (
r
= −0.412,
−0.275;
P
< 0.001,
P
= 0.002)
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Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health, and Social Support
Table 2. Differences of job-seeking stress, depression, suicidal ideation and social support according to sociodemographic characteristics
Characteristics Variables, mean (SD)
JSSS Personality
stress
Anxious
stress
Family
environment
stress
Employment
market
environment
stress
Job
ability
stress
BDI-II BSS MSPSS
Sex
Males (n = 51) 48.73 (10.63) 14.95 (4.16) 5.88 (2.22) 9.27 (2.82) 8.69 (2.44) 9.94 (2.46) 9.20 (5.18) 1.82 (2.77) 48.73 (8.13)
Females (n = 73) 57.88 (11.44) 18.70 (4.70) 7.29 (2.61) 10.40 (2.86) 10.11 (2.21) 11.38 (2.95) 16.33 (9.26) 4.92 (5.52) 46.92 (9.67)
t or F −4.510c−4.581c−3.135b−2.179b−3.384b−2.862b−5.471c−4.111c1.092
Major
Humanities &
social science (n = 55)
55.86 (11.38) 17.92 (4.64) 7.00 (2.63) 10.36 (2.93) 9.64 (2.27) 10.95 (2.97) 13.58 (8.73) 4.14 (5.35) 46.98 (8.97)
Natural science &
engineering (n = 32)
49.09 (10.92) 15.13 (4.78) 6.09 (2.16) 9.16 (2.62) 8.78 (2.39) 9.94 (2.30) 12.22 (7.25) 2.63 (3.23) 49.56 (6.32)
Others (n = 37) 55.89 (12.96) 17.78 (4.79) 6.81 (2.69) 10.00 (2.97) 10.00 (2.55) 11.30 (2.98) 14.14 (9.47) 3.78 (5.15) 47.02 (11.05)
t or F 3.997a4.006a1.333 1.780 2.371 2.153 0.298 1.021 0.945
Student loan
Yes (n = 28) 57.32 (11.36) 17.21 (4.76) 7.36 (2.90) 11.00 (3.23) 10.68 (2.21) 11.07 (2.36) 13.72 (8.47) 3.54 (4.80) 46.71 (8.30)
No (n = 95) 52.98 (11.91) 17.04 (4.80) 6.51 (2.42) 9.61 (2.72) 9.18 (2.37) 10.65 (2.94) 13.14 (8.54) 3.62 (4.84) 47.92 (9.37)
t or F 1.7 13 0.172 1.562 2.281a2.986b0.691 0.315 −0.069 −0.617
Willing to accept
irregular employment
Yes (n = 50) 57.95 (12.75) 18.22 (5.09) 7.04 (2.64) 10.59 (3.35) 10.24 (2.50) 11.86 (2.63) 16.75 (10.15) 4.84 (5.41) 46.68 (9.73)
No (n = 73) 51.65 (10.74) 16.44 (4.58) 6.49 (2.48) 9.52 (2 .47) 9.07 (2.23) 10.12 (2.74) 11.11 (6.51) 2.85 (4.3) 48.26 (8.66)
t or F 2.958b2.018a1.169 2.042a2.729b3.508b3.471b2.181a−0.945
JSSS = Job-Seeking Stress Scale (total score), BDI-II = Beck Depression Inventory-II, BSS = Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, MSPSS = Multidimensional Scale of
Perceived Social Support, SD = standard deviation.
aP < 0.05; bP < 0.01; cP < 0.001.
Simple mediation analysis
Fig. 1 depicts the simple mediation model showing the eect of job-seeking stress on suicidal
ideation via depression. The overall Job-Seeking Stress Scale score was included in the model,
and sex was controlled for the analysis. The simple mediation analysis showed a signicant
positive indirect eect of depression (b = 0.142; standard error [SE] = 0.029; 95% CI, 0.0920–
0.2107). Both paths in the model were signicant, including those from job-seeking stress
to depression (a path) (b = 0.413; SE = 0.052; 95% CI, 0.3103–0.5164), and from depression
to suicidal ideation (b path) (b = 0.343; SE = 0.049; 95% CI, 0.2461–0.4404). However, the
direct eect of job-seeking stress on suicidal ideation was nonsignicant (b = 0.529; SE =
0.346; 95% CI, −0.0157–0.1215).
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Table 3. Descriptive statistics and number of participants in the clinical range for depression and suicidal ideation (n = 124)
Variables Mean (SD) Min–max Clinical range, No. (%)
Job-seeking stress (JSSS) 54.12 (11.96) 22–86
Personality stress 17.16 (4.83) 6–27
Anxious stress 6.71 (2.54) 3–12
Family environment stress 9.94 (2.89) 4–17
Employment market environment stress 9.52 (2.40) 3–15
Job ability stress 10.79 (2.84) 4–18
Depression (BDI-II) 13.40 (8.58) 0–44
No (0–13) 74 (59.7)
Mild (14–19) 23 (18.5)
Moderate (20–28) 18 (14.5)
Severe (29–63) 8 (6.5)
No response 1 (0.8)
Suicidal ideation (BSS) 3.64 (4.83) 0–23
No (0–8) 105 (84.7)
Mild (9–11) 5 (4.0)
Moderate (12–14) 10 (8.1)
Severe (15–38) 4 (3.2)
4 social support (MSPSS) 47.66 (9.07) 14–60
JSSS = Job-Seeking Stress Scale (total score), BDI-II = Beck Depression Inventory-II, BSS = Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, MSPSS = Multidimensional Scale of
Perceived Social Support, SD = standard deviation.
Table 4. Correlations of job-seeking stress, depression, suicidal ideation, and social support
Variables JSSS Personality
stress
Anxious
stress
Family
environment
stress
Employment
market
environment
stress
Job
ability
stress
BDI-II BSS MSPSS
JSSS
Personality stress 0.872b
(0.000)
Anxious stress 0.795b
(0.000)
0.693b
(0.000)
Family environment stress 0.672b
(0.000)
0.445b
(0.000)
0.387b
(0.000)
Employment market
environment stress
0.729b
(0.000)
0.517b
(0.000)
0.548b
(0.000)
0.337b
(0.000)
Job ability stress 0.716b
(0.000)
0.459b
(0.000)
0.414b
(0.000)
0.425b
(0.000)
0.510b
(0.000)
BDI-II 0.649b
(0.000)
0.610b
(0.000)
0.510b
(0.000)
0.318b
(0.000)
0.425b
(0.000)
0.557b
(0.000)
BSS 0.533b
(0.000)
0.443b
(0.000)
0.379b
(0.000)
0.365b
(0.000)
0.393b
(0.000)
0.450b
(0.000)
0.702b
(0.000)
MSPSS −0.412b
(0.000)
−0.288a
(0.001)
−0.358b
(0.000)
−0.355b
(0.000)
−0.275a
(0.002)
−0.331b
(0.000)
−0.335b
(0.000)
−0.356b
(0.000)
JSSS = Job-Seeking Stress Scale
(total score), BDI-II = Beck Depression Inventory-II, BSS = Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, MSPSS = Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support.
aP < 0.01; bP < 0.001, Bonferroni adjusted α level = 0.005.
Moderated mediation analysis
The results of the moderated mediation analysis are shown in Fig. 2. The overall score
for job-seeking stress was included in the model, and sex was controlled for the analysis.
Examination of the path from job-seeking stress to depression (a path) showed a signicant
eect of job-seeking stress, in that depression levels increased as job-seeking stress increased
(b = 0.829; SE = 0.222; 95% CI, 0.3884–1.2689). In addition, social support was a signicant
moderator of the path from job-seeking stress to depression (a path) (b = −0.009; SE = 0.004;
95% CI, −0.0178, −0.0004), in that the eect of job-seeking stress on depression decreased as
levels of perceived social support increased.
Examination of the path from depression to suicidal ideation (b path) showed that
depression predicted suicidal ideation (b = 0.625; SE = 0.127; 95% CI, 0.3742–0.8763). In
addition, social support was a signicant moderator of the path from depression to suicidal
ideation (b path) (b = −0.0007; SE = 0.003; 95% CI, −0.0119, −0.0013). The strength of
the association between depression and suicidal ideation decreased as levels of social
support increased. In addition, examination of moderation levels indicated that the indirect
association between job-seeking stress and suicidal ideation via depression was signicant
for all levels (i.e., mean ± 1 standard deviation) of social support.
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Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health, and Social Support
Depression
aa
0.413
(
P < 0.001)
ba
0.343
(P < 0.001
)
ca
0.195
(P < 0.001)
c
0.529
(P = 0.129)
Job seeking
stress
Suicidal
ideation
Fig. 1. Simple mediation model. The paths a, b, c, and c are presented unstandardized regression coefficients
(path a, association between job-seeking stress and depression; path b, association between depression and
suicide ideation; path c, total effect between job-seeking stress and suicidal ideation; and path c, direct effect
between job-seeking stress and suicidal ideation).
aP < 0.001.
Depression
Perceived
social support
a b
c
Job seeking
stress
Suicidal
ideation
b = −.a
(P  .)
b = −.a
(P  .)
Fig. 2. Moderated mediation model. Coefficients path b of the moderator for paths a and b (path a, association
between job-seeking stress and depression; path b, association between depression and suicide ideation; and
path c, direct effect between job-seeking stress and suicidal ideation).
aP < 0.05.
As in the simple mediation model, the direct eect of job-seeking stress on suicidal ideation
(c path) was nonsignicant (b = 0.040; SE = 0.683; 95% CI, −0.0119, −0.0013).
In further analysis, gender dierences in the relationships between job-seeking stress,
depression, and suicidal ideation were also explored. To investigate the moderating eects of
gender, the moderated mediation analysis using model 59 was conducted. As a result, gender
was identied as a signicant moderator of the path from job-seeking stress to depression
(a path) (b = 0.297; SE = 0.105; 95% CI, −0.0906, −0.5043), in that the eect of job-seeking
stress on depression was greater for women than for men. However, the moderating eects of
gender on the b path (b = 0.671; SE = 0.1206; 95% CI, −0.1717, 0.3059) and c path (b = 0.0784;
SE = 0.0695; 95% CI, −0.0592–0.2160) were not signicant.
DISCUSSION
This study aimed to explore mental health status in young job seekers and identify
sociodemographic factors related to job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. We
also sought to determine whether job-seeking stress exerted an eect on suicidal ideation via
depression and social support moderated this eect.
In total, 124 university graduates who were actively seeking employment participated in
the study. Overall, 39.5% (n = 49) of participants showed clinically signicant levels of
depression, classied as mild (n = 23), moderate (n = 18), or severe (n = 8). In addition, 15.3%
(n = 19) of participants reported suicidal ideation at a clinical level, classied as mild
(n = 5), moderate (n = 10), or severe (n = 4). Exploration of sociodemographic factors
associated with job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation in young job seekers
produced the following ndings. Sex was identied as a signicant variable, as women were
more likely to experience job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation relative to
men. These ndings are consistent with those of previous studies in which women exhibited
higher rates of depression,29 suicidal ideation,30 and job-seeking stress relative to those
observed in men.31 This could reect women's sense of crisis and diculty resulting from sex
dierences in the employment market. According to the National Statistical Oce of Korea,
the economic participation rate and average salary for female college graduates in their late
20s and early 30s were lower relative to those observed for men.32,33
Levels of job-seeking stress diered according to academic major, and participants with
humanities or social science as an academic major exhibited higher levels of job-seeking
stress relative to those observed in participants with natural science or engineering as an
academic major. In contrast, depression and suicidal ideation did not dier signicantly
according to academic major.
Further, participants with student loans experienced greater job-seeking stress, including
family environment stress and employment market environment stress, relative to that
observed in participants who did not have student loans. It is unlikely that participants
who had student loans received economic support from their families.34 In addition, when
graduates are pressurized to repay the loans, their desire for stable, high-income employment
is likely to be strong; however, they tend to lower their expectations in order to secure
employment rapidly. Therefore, it is highly likely that they experience stress because of
inconsistency between actual employment conditions and their preferences.
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Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health, and Social Support
In addition, young job seekers who were willing to accept irregular employment experienced
greater job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation relative to those who were
unwilling to accept irregular employment. The reason for this nding was unclear; however,
job seekers who were willing to accept irregular employment could have been more
desperate to nd work, relative to those who were unwilling to accept irregular employment,
and experienced low self-esteem, low self-ecacy, and a strong sense of hopelessness.
Consequently, they could have felt that they were forced to accept irregular employment.
These ndings have signicant social implications. In the current labor market, companies
tend to employ nonregular workers as part of measures taken to increase market exibility
and solve unemployment problems. Indeed, the full-time employment rate for graduates of
4-year college courses decreased by 10.6% between 2006 (63.1%) and 2015 (52.5%).35 With
respect to mental health, there is a risk that this phenomenon could lead to psychological
instability in young job seekers, and their vulnerability could serve as a factor in their
acceptance of unreasonable employment conditions.
The results of the correlation analysis showed positive correlations between job-seeking
stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. In contrast, perceived social support was negatively
correlated with job-seeking stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. Of the Job-Seeking
Stress Scale subscales, the personality stress and job ability stress subscales were more
strongly correlated with depression and suicidal ideation than the family environment
stress and employment market environment stress subscales were. This nding could be
considered in the context of attribution styles in depression. A considerable body of previous
research has shown that individuals who attributed failure to internal factors were more
vulnerable to depression relative to those who attributed failure to external factors.36,37 In
this context, stress involving internal factors, such as personality problems or the inability
to work, rather than external or environmental factors, has the potential to exacerbate
depression and suicidal ideation.
The simple mediation model, in which job-seeking stress aected suicidal ideation via
depression, indicated that the indirect eect of depression on suicidal ideation was
signicant. However, the direct eect of job-seeking stress on suicidal ideation was
nonsignicant. This suggests that intervention in depression is essential to developing
suicide prevention strategies for young job seekers. They tend to believe that their depression
will be alleviated only by employment. They also tend to be reluctant to seek psychiatric
treatment due to social stigma regarding mental illness. As a result, young job seekers
leave depression untreated, increasing the diculty of securing employment and the
risk of suicide. Therefore, an appropriate social atmosphere and infrastructure should be
established, to ensure that job seekers are able to access mental health services easily and
routinely without experiencing social prejudice.
The results of the moderated mediation analysis showed that perceived social support
moderated the eect of job-seeking stress on depression and the eect of depression on
suicidal ideation. The eect of job-seeking stress on depression in participants who reported
higher levels of perceived social support was weaker relative to that observed in those who
reported lower levels of perceived social support. Perceived social support also reduced the
eect of depression on suicidal ideation. These results indicate that social support could
serve as a protective factor for depression and suicidal ideation in young job seekers. Young
job seekers who are unemployed following graduation from college are more likely to adopt
a passive attitude in social interaction. Moreover, until they achieve the goal of employment,
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Job-Seeking Stress, Mental Health, and Social Support
they could become socially isolated, which could exacerbate mental health problems.
Therefore, participation in self-help groups or organizations that provide emotional support
for young job seekers could be benecial. Further, there is a need for a social system that
supports activities and social gatherings, facilitates the exchange of practical information
regarding employment, and provides career counseling. However, a large proportion of
the welfare budget in Korea is reserved for the elderly population, and welfare benets and
institutional support for young people are insucient.38 Young college graduates are largely
disregarded with respect to welfare benets. Therefore, increased government interest and
practical support are urgently required for young job seekers.
The study was subject to some limitations. For example, the sample size was small (n = 124);
therefore, the generalizability of the results was limited. In addition, the study involved a cross-
sectional design; therefore, we were unable to infer causal relationships between the variables.
Longitudinal studies should be conducted to clarify changes and causal relationships over time.
Moreover, the limitations of the measurement tools should be considered. All variables were
examined using self-report questionnaires, and the study did not include clinical interviews for
depression or suicidal ideation. In addition, as the dependent variable was suicidal ideation, the
prediction of attempted suicide was limited. Furthermore, Heo's study19 lacked cross validation
of the Job-Seeking Stress Scale; this could, at least in part, have reected the paucity of
academic research involving university graduates seeking employment. Future research should
include validation studies and the development of a sophisticated stress scale in which young
job seekers' characteristics are considered.
Despite these limitations, the results have the following implications. Although suicide
rates in young people are high and interest in youth unemployment has increased, research
examining mental health status and related factors in young job seekers is extremely rare.
However, the current study elucidated the relationships between sociodemographic factors,
job-seeking stress, depression, suicidal ideation, and perceived social support and identied
risk and protective factors for suicidal ideation. In addition, the ndings could provide a
basis for therapeutic interventions and policy decisions intended to help young job seekers.
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Background: Although depression and motion sickness are prevalent in military personnel and seafarers, the association between depression and seasickness has been not yet elucidated. We aimed to evaluate the relationship of depression with initial susceptibility and adaptation to seasickness amongst military seafarers. Methods: This retrospective cohort enrolled Navy seafarers who started seafaring between 2017 and 2019. Three groups were established according to the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score: no depression (BDI score of 0), minimal depression (BDI score 1-9), and mild-to-moderate depression (BDI score 10-29). The occurrence of seasickness requiring treatment was observed as the prescription of medication for the first 30 distant seafaring days. Considering adjustment period, the two different outcomes were defined. The susceptibility to seasickness was evaluated via at least one day suffered from seasickness requiring treatment during the early period (the first 5 seafaring days), and adaptation ability to seasickness was defined by more than 10% of the ratio, calculated days suffered from seasickness requiring treatment/days of seafaring during the late period (the 6-30th seafaring days). Binary logistic regression was further evaluated to estimate the odds of BDI groups and BDI score adjusted for age and workplace whether outside visual perception was possible. Results: Among the 185 recruits, 179 participants (97%) sailed for more than 5 days were included in the study. Of the participants, 36% was susceptible to seasickness in the early and 17% was poorly adapted to seasickness in the late period. Multivariable model revealed that mild-to-moderate depression had elevated risk of poor adaptation (odds ratio [OR], 4.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.31-16.98) whereas the results were not statistically significant for susceptibility to seasickness in the early period BDI score was independently associated with increased odds of poor adaptation (OR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.04-1.18). Conclusion: The present study suggests that depression is associated with poor adaptation to seasickness in Navy seafarers. Depression screening tool might be helpful for providing preventable strategies for population at risk.
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Background: This study aimed to identify subgroups of East Asian female college students experiencing life stress frequencies, and examine whether a difference in general characteristics existed between the extracted classes. Methods: This used a cross-sectional design. Female college students from South Korea (n = 220) and Hong Kong (n = 300) participated in the study. Life stress frequencies using the Life Stress Scale were measured. Latent class analysis as well as binary and multinomial logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the factors associated with extracted classes, and ascertain whether a difference in general characteristics existed between the extracted classes. Results: South Korean participants were classified into two latent groups: "life stress - high" (18.6%) or "life stress - low" (81.4%). Within the Korean latent groups, subjective health status was significantly associated with group classification. In Hong Kong, participants were classified into three latent groups: "life stress - high" (13.7%), "life stress - moderate" (43.9%), and "life stress - low" (42.4%), and the classified groups were significantly associated with the financial status of participants' parents, subjective health status, and body mass index. Limitations: It is difficult to generalize the results to college females in the whole of South Korea and Hong Kong due to the convenience sampling method. Furthermore, further studies using a longitudinal design will be needed to confirm the variables' causal relationship. Conclusions: For alleviating the experienced stress frequency, it is important for female college students to have interventions at the family, societal, and national levels, in addition to their individual efforts.
Chapter
Depression is a dreadful mental disorder affecting negatively one’s way of thinking and ability of functioning while the person may not be aware of it. The prevalence of depression is high among the young generation of developing countries because of ever-increasing academic and career-related distress, job uncertainty, and family problems. In Bangladesh, there is a dearth of information about the predictors of depression among university students, so is a model to identify them. The information is important for the prevention of depression and the promotion of mental health. The data set we used for this research was built on the data collected by a questionnaire circulated through social media. Using Pearson’s chi-squared test and back elimination method, we have identified the key feature variables. We used six different ML classifiers to build the classification model that is capable of detecting the presence of depression. Among the six, the stacking classifier with 24 attributes shows the highest accuracy.KeywordsDepressionPrediction modelMachine learningFeature selectionClassificationEnsemble
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This study examined the moderator effect of social support on the relationship between stress and depression of university students. A total of 632 undergraduate students completed the measures of perceived stress, perceived social support, and depression. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that social support moderated the association between stress and depression. Undergraduate students with high stress reported higher scores in depression than those with low stress with low social support level. However, the impact of stress on depression was much smaller in the high social support group compared with that in the low social support group.
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Objective: Mixed evidence for the associations among depression, hopelessness, alcohol problems, and suicidal ideation in college students may be due to the influence of social support. Method: A moderated-mediation analysis was conducted to examine relationships among suicide risk factors in 2,034 college students. Results: Social support moderated the relation between depressive symptoms and hopelessness in predicting suicidal thoughts; specifically, the association between depressive symptoms and hopelessness was diminished among those students with high levels of social support. This resulted in attenuated indirect associations between depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation via hopelessness. Alcohol problems were associated with likelihood of experiencing suicidal ideation, but not severity. Conclusion: Social support may be a key variable for suicide prevention among college students.
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Objectives: We present a study on the role of social support and positive events as protective factors in suicide. Methods: Participants (n = 379) were administered measures of social support, life events, depressive symptoms and suicide ideation. Results: Results indicated that (a) social support had a direct protective effect on suicide ideation (b) social support and positive events acted as individual buffers in the relationship between negative events and suicide ideation, and (c) social support and positive events synergistically buffered the relationship between negative events and suicide ideation. Conclusion: Our results provide evidence that positive events and social support act as protective factors against suicide individually and synergistically when they co-occur.