Impact of lifetime compared to adolescent-onset mental illness on psychosocial employment quality in adulthood: analysis of a nationally representative French cohort

Katrina Witt, Allison Milner, Jean François Chastang, Anthony D. LaMontagne, Isabelle Niedhammer

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We investigated prospective associations between mental illness and psychosocial employment quality using a nationally representative sample of the French working population by gender, primary diagnosis, and age of onset. Methods: 6234 employed French adults (aged 20–74 years) were followed from 2006 to 2010. All respondents provided data on 26 indicators of psychosocial employment quality drawn from the Job-Strain Model, other job stressors, and indicators of working time stressors (i.e., shift work, night work, and long working hours). Results: We performed 272 statistical tests, of which 37 were significant following adjustment for age, poor socio-economic position during childhood, unemployment status at wave one, and anxiety or depression at wave two. Females with a lifetime diagnosis of any mental illness reported higher psychological and emotional demands at work, whilst males reported low decision latitude, tensions with the public, and work-life imbalance. In both genders a lifetime diagnosis of any mental illness was associated with role and ethical conflict. A lifetime diagnosis of major depression appeared to have stronger associations for females, whilst substance use disorder was associated with poorer psychosocial employment quality in males. Adolescent-onset mental illness might be associated with poorer psychosocial employment quality among men more so than among women. Conclusions: Results suggest that people with a history of mental illness who obtain employment tend to be employed in jobs characterized by poor psychosocial quality. Employment quality should be considered in vocational rehabilitation policies and practices aimed at optimizing employment participation in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-900
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Job stress
  • Job-strain
  • Mental health
  • Psychosocial job quality

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