Is any job better than no job? Labor market experiences and depressive symptoms in people living with HIV

Sergio Rueda, Peter Smith, Tsegaye Bekele, Kelly O'Brien, Winston Husbands, Alan Li, Murray Jose-Boerbridge, Nicole Mittmann, Anita Rachlis, Liza Conyers, Kb Boomer, Sean B. Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between the psychosocial work environment and labor market experiences (including unemployment) on mental health among adults living with HIV. We used data provided by 538 participants at clinical and community sites across Ontario, Canada. Generalized estimating equation models showed that employment was associated with lower depressive symptoms. For employed participants, adverse psychosocial work conditions, specifically job insecurity, psychological demands, and decision authority were associated with depressive symptoms. For the entire sample, the number of adverse psychosocial work conditions was associated with higher depressive symptoms while participants working in poor quality jobs reported similar levels of depressive symptoms than those who were unemployed or not in the labor force. This study showed that poor quality employment (as assessed by having a high number of adverse psychosocial work exposures) was associated with a similar level of depressive symptoms as unemployment, suggesting that "bad jobs" may not offer the same mental health benefits as "good jobs." Policies to improve employment outcomes should take the quality of employment into account to maximize mental health benefits as better employment may lead to better mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-915
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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