Associations of Tipped and Untipped Service Work with Poor Mental Health in a Nationally Representative Cohort of Adolescents Followed into Adulthood

Sarah B. Andrea, Lynne C. Messer, Miguel Marino, Janne Heinonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Precarious work is concentrated in the service industry in the United States and is a risk factor for poor mental health. Service occupations in which workers receive tips are potentially more precarious due to unstable schedule and income, and lack of benefits. We tested hypotheses that individuals working in tipped service occupations have greater odds of experiencing poor mental health (as indicated by self-reported depression, sleep problems, and/or greater perceived stress) relative to individuals in untipped service and nonservice occupations, using cross-sectional data from wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health data set (2007-2008; age range, 24-33 years). To improve comparability of occupation types, propensity scores were computed as a function of childhood factors, then used to construct a sample of 2,815 women and 2,586 men. In gender-stratified multivariable regression, women in tipped service had greater odds of reporting a depression diagnosis or symptoms relative to women in nonservice work (odds ratio = 1.61; 95% confidence interval: 1.11, 2.34). Associations of similar magnitude for sleep problems and perceived stress were observed among women but were not statistically significant; all associations were close to the null among men. Additional research is necessary to understand the factors that underlie differences in poor mental health in tipped and untipped service versus nonservice workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2177-2185
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume187
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

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Occupations
Mental Health
Sleep
Depression
Propensity Score
Longitudinal Studies
Appointments and Schedules
Industry
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Health
Research

Keywords

  • employment
  • gender
  • occupational health
  • occupational stress
  • precarious work
  • psychosocial stress
  • tipped work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

Cite this

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abstract = "Precarious work is concentrated in the service industry in the United States and is a risk factor for poor mental health. Service occupations in which workers receive tips are potentially more precarious due to unstable schedule and income, and lack of benefits. We tested hypotheses that individuals working in tipped service occupations have greater odds of experiencing poor mental health (as indicated by self-reported depression, sleep problems, and/or greater perceived stress) relative to individuals in untipped service and nonservice occupations, using cross-sectional data from wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health data set (2007-2008; age range, 24-33 years). To improve comparability of occupation types, propensity scores were computed as a function of childhood factors, then used to construct a sample of 2,815 women and 2,586 men. In gender-stratified multivariable regression, women in tipped service had greater odds of reporting a depression diagnosis or symptoms relative to women in nonservice work (odds ratio = 1.61; 95{\%} confidence interval: 1.11, 2.34). Associations of similar magnitude for sleep problems and perceived stress were observed among women but were not statistically significant; all associations were close to the null among men. Additional research is necessary to understand the factors that underlie differences in poor mental health in tipped and untipped service versus nonservice workers.",
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