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research Underemployment impacts mental health The value of employment for people with disabilities has associated with considerable declines in the mental health of people with been highlighted in recent disabilities.” of Melbourne. the Household, Income and research from the University D Dr Milner used data from Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey – a longitudinal, nationally representative study of r Allison Milner from the Australian households – to assess likely to experience greater pay Centre for Health Equity in whether the presence of disability inequity and greater job insecurity the School of Population modified the association between than those without disability. and Global Health has conducted several studies into disability and employment. Her most recent research, published in the Journal of underemployment and mental health. She said disabilities were reported “The combination of these disadvantages is likely to go some in about 15 per cent of the data way to explaining why people with sample overall. disabilities experience greater Being underemployed was declines in their mental health when Epidemiology and Community reported by 23.62 per cent of people they report underemployment Health, found people with disabilities with disabilities, compared with 19.54 compared with those without are more likely to experience per cent of people without disabilities. disability.” underemployment and are more likely Dr Milner said the estimates She said that in Australia and many to have their mental health adversely obtained indicated that the combined other countries of the Organisation affected by it. effect of being underemployed for Economic Cooperation and and having a disability on mental Development, there is a renewed compared with other workers, people health was greater than the summed commitment to improving the with disabilities are much more likely independent risks of having employment outcomes for people to experience greater pay inequity disabilities and being underemployed. with disabilities. Dr Milner (pictured right) said and greater job insecurity than those without disability. “We sought to examine whether Dr Milner said that more so than “At the same time, we know that other groups, people with disabilities there is worsening underemployment are at greater risk of exclusion from and an increasing concern that being underemployed – defined employment, as well as other forms of employment is becoming ever-more as when a person wants to work social and political exclusion. precarious, particularly for the most more hours, but these hours are not “People with disabilities are also vulnerable in the community,” she said. attainable – has a different effect more likely to face multiple types of on the mental health of people social and economic disadvantage and attention on how to ameliorate when they do and do not report compared with those without the effects of underemployment on disabilities,” she said. disabilities,” she said. the mental health of persons with “There is increasing evidence that poor-quality working conditions are “We also know that workers reporting disabilities are much more “There is a need for more research disabilities.” research 61