Is there a gender difference on the association between informal work and common mental disorders?

A Ludermir, G Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Economic activity in Brazilian women has been increasing in recent years, particularly in the form of under- and self-employment, which allows more flexibility in the work schedule and facilitates part-time work, a crucial issue for women reconciling family duties and the need for a remunerated occupation. This paper investigates the gender difference in the association between employment status and common mental disorders (CMD). A cross-sectional survey of a random sample of private households included 683 adults aged 15 years and over living in Olinda, Brazil. The self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ-20) was used to estimate the prevalence of CMD. The association between unemployment and CMD for men (OR=1.77, 95% CI 0.8–3.9) was in the same direction as that found for women (OR=2.66, 95% CI 1.1–6.3), but not significant. In contrast to this, while women working in the informal sector were more likely to be a case of CMD than formal workers (OR=3.02, 95% CI 1.3–7.2), no difference was found for informally working men (OR=1.08, 95% CI 0.5–2.4). The estimated OR for female informal workers was out of the 95% confidence intervals of the corresponding OR estimated for males, and the test for interaction was statistically significant (p=0.04). From a policy perspective, the value of encouraging people to take informal work depends both on how quickly individuals can be moved out of unemployment into informal work compared to other destinations, and how well individuals fare once in informal work. The results of the present study suggest that working outside the protection of employment legislation and with limited opportunity for skill use may be a risk for women’s mental health.
Translated title of the contributionIs there a gender difference on the association between informal work and common mental disorders?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622 - 627
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume40 (8)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Springer

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