The Impact of Job Insecurity on Psychological Distress

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Business and Economics


Department of Economics

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Kelly Chen


This study analyzes the effects of subjective and objective job insecurity among workers in the United States, whether persistent job insecurity has an especially large impact on mental wellbeing and how it may impact women differently. Previous researchers have found a link between job insecurity and mental wellbeing in Canada and Europe. This study aims to contribute to literature on this research question, while also including new variables such as whether or not an individual feels they could find a job if they lost their job today. This survey question has not been included in previous studies. Analysis includes panel data from the Americans' Changing Lives Study (ACL), 1986-1989, to measure objective and subjective job insecurity, perceived mental health (based on the Kessler-10 Psychological Distress Index) as well as other control variables. Preliminary pooled OLS results show that both objective and subjective job insecurity have significant positive impacts on the Kessler-10 measure of psychological distress at the 1% level, even when controlling for factors such as cigarette and alcohol use, gender, race, income, and age in both 1986 and 1989. Results also found that women do experience higher levels of psychological distress, but not due to job insecurity. Further investigation within this study will use a stacked fixed effects model on ACL panel data from 1986 - 2011 to report more robust results on persistent job insecurity and psychological distress.

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