Interplay of work hours, wages and mental health. Is working always beneficial to mental health?

Date & time

12.30–1.30pm 4 December 2014


Bob Douglas Lecture Theatre, Building 62 NCEPH (entrance on Eggleston Road)


Dr Huong Dinh, Research Fellow, NCEPH-RSPH


 Vasoontara Yieng

Dr Huong Dinh is a Research Fellow at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University. She is a quantitative researcher applying advanced statistical techniques into population health studies.


This paper identifies the potentially contradictory health effects of work linked to wages and time through a longitudinal analysis using a
simultaneous equation approach. We use six wave data from a nationally representative sample of working age adults (24-65 years), surveyed in the Household Income Labour Dynamics of Australia Survey (N= 13,171 for 3828 men, N=13,646 for 4062 women). Working less than 45 hours (men) or 36 hours (women) appears to be positive for mental health, whereas working longer appears to be detrimental. Work time flexibility delivers overall mental health benefits irrespective of hours worked. Having to work fast and intensively, in contrast, places people’s mental health at risk while also leading to increased work hours over time. Higher wages, adjusted for health
selection, benefits mental health, but this relationship is statistically significant only for women. We show there are temporal limits to the health benefits of employment.

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