The association between labour force participation and being in income poverty amongst those with mental health problems

Deborah J. Schofield, Emily J. Callander, Rupendra N. Shrestha, Richard Percival, Simon J. Kelly, Megan E. Passey

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Mental health conditions are associated with lower standards of living. This study quantifies the relationship between employment, depression and other mental health conditions and being in income poverty. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis was undertaken using the 2003 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers data for Australians aged 45-64 years. Results: Those not in the labour force due to depression and other mental health conditions are significantly more likely (odds ratio (OR) 12.53, 95% CI: 12.20-12.86, p < 0.0001; OR 20.10, 95% CI: 19.67-20.54, p < 0.0001) to be in income poverty than those not in the labour force with no chronic health condition. Amongst those with depression and other mental health conditions, those who were in employment were significantly less likely to be in income poverty than those who have had to retire because of the condition. Conclusion: Due to the association between leaving the workforce due to mental health problems and poverty status, efforts to increase the employment of individuals with mental health conditions, or prevent the onset of the conditions, will likely improve living standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-257
Number of pages8
JournalAging & Mental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • labour force participation
  • living standards
  • poverty
  • retirement

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