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Indeed, the suicide rate in Korea is the highest among OECD countries,21 having increased from 10.2 per 100 000 in 1985 to 31.2 per 100 000 in 2010.22Therefore, our study objective was to assess the effects of employment status on mental health, particularly depression.
We hypothesised that unstable employment, such as precarious employment and unemployment, would have more negative effects on mental health than permanent employment.
KOWEPS started in 2006 with 18 856 Korean participants from 7072 households,23 with a follow-up rate of 73.6% in 2012 compared to households in 2006.
In our study, data (N=9336) from 2009 were considered the baseline data.
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Methods Data from the Korea Welfare Panel Study (KOWEPS) collected from 2008 to 2011 were used.
Results Compared with those who were permanently employed, individuals who moved from permanent to precarious employment (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.70) or to unemployment (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.43) and from precarious employment to unemployment (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.32 to 2.06) showed a significantly increased the odds of having depression.
The temporary employment rate has gradually increased since the economic crisis of 1997, by 24.4% from 2003 to 2013.15 In 2011, it was 27.1%, second only to Chile among OECD countries.These results were particularly identified in men and head of household women.The effects were not significant among non-head of household women.The labour market was severely affected by the economic crisis of 1997–1998, which was caused by a current account deficit, inadequate corporation cash flows, weakening bank finances and low international reserves.13 The Korean government was rescued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which imposed an austerity plan.Most of the financial institutions were restructured, research and development costs and the investment ratio were reduced, and 66.9% of corporations were restructured by the IMF.