The relationship between nonstandard working and mental health in a representative sample of the South Korean population

Il Ho Kim, Carles Muntaner, Young Ho Khang, Domyung Paek, Sung Il Cho

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109 Citations (Scopus)


In light of escalating job insecurity due to increasing numbers of nonstandard workers, this study examined the association between nonstandard employment and mental health among South Korean workers. We analyzed a representative weighted sample of 2086 men and 1194 women aged 20-64 years, using data from the 1998 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Nonstandard employment included part-time work, temporary work, and daily work. Mental health was measured with indicators of self-reported depression and suicidal ideation. Based on age-adjusted prevalence of mental health, nonstandard employees were more likely to be mentally ill compared to standard employees. Furthermore, nonstandard work status was associated with poor mental health after adjusting for socioeconomic position (education, occupational class, and income) and health behaviors (smoking, alcohol consumption, and exercise). However, the pattern of the relationship between nonstandard work and mental health differed by gender. Female gender was significantly associated with poor mental health. Although males tended to report more suicidal ideation, this difference was not statistically significant. Considering the increasing prevalence of nonstandard working conditions in South Korea, the results call for more longitudinal research on the mental health effects of nonstandard work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-574
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug


  • Gender
  • Job insecurity
  • Mental health
  • Nonstandard work arrangement
  • South Korea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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