Do psychosocial job stressors influence mental health service use? Evidence from an Australian cohort

Allison Milner, Dennis Petrie, Anthony D. LaMontagne, Peter Butterworth

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Objectives: There is strong evidence of a relationship between psychosocial job stressors and mental health at the population level. There has been no longitudinal research on whether the experience of job stressors is also associated with greater mental health service use. We seek to fill this gap. Methods: The Household Income Labour Dynamics in Australia survey cohort was used to assess the relationship between exposure to self-reported psychosocial job quality and reporting attendance at a mental health professional during the past 12 months. We adjusted for time-varying and time-invariant confounders. The study was conducted in 2009 and 2013. Results: In the random effects logistic regression model, increasing exposure to psychosocial job stressors was associated with an increased odds of mental health service use after adjustment (one stressor: OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.56; two stressors: OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.73; three stressors: OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.28 to 2.57). However, once the between person effects were controlled in a fixed effects model, the within-person association between change in job stressors and change in mental health service use was estimated to be close to zero and not significant. Conclusions: More work is needed to understand the relationship between job stressors and service use. However, when taken with past findings on job stressors and mental health, these findings highlight the importance of considering policy and clinical practice responses to adverse working contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • health services research
  • job stress
  • mental health

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