Journal article

The reciprocal relationship between depressive symptoms and employment status

Melisa Bubonya, Deborah A Cobb-Clark, David C Ribar

Economics & Human Biology | ELSEVIER | Published : 2019


This paper analyzes the reciprocal lagged relationship between depressive symptoms and employment status. We find that severe depressive symptoms contribute to a 25.6% increase in subsequent non-employment rates, a 20.7% increase in non-participation rates and 34.2% increase in unemployment rates, for men. Similar, although weaker, marginal effects are found for women. However, we find no evidence for men and only limited evidence for women that unemployment, non-employment, or non-participation raises the risks of severe depressive symptoms. We observe an impact of labor market status on depressive symptoms only when using point-in-time measures.


Awarded by Australian Research Council (ARC)

Funding Acknowledgements

This paper uses confidentialized unit record file data from the HILDA Survey. The HILDA Survey Project was initiated and is funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. The authors are grateful for financial support from an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant (DP140102614). The findings and views reported in this paper, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the DSS, the ARC or the Melbourne Institute.