Work history as a life course socioeconomic position and its association with depression in mid to later adult life: a systematic review of the evidence
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University College London United Kingdom
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A82
Background and Objective:
Given the challenging economic climate during the past decades, the ageing workers around the world are more likely to have held multiple lifetime occupations and employments. Thus, the longitudinal observation of an individual’s composite work and employment trajectories over lifetime can be considered a potential SEP that can explain the mid- to later life inequalities in depression. Yet, the systematic evidence is limited. Here, I present the systematic evidence for the life course work history as an SEP and its association with depressive symptoms of older adults.

Results were identified from five electronic databases, which were searched to identify studies from the wider discipline as well as epidemiology. Studies that examine the effect of varying labour force participation pattern over lifetime on later adult life depressive symptoms were identified. The four search concepts were: Concept 1 (Older adults, Age 45+, Midlife to later life), Concept 2 (Depression, depressive symptoms), Concept 3 (Employment history, labour force participation, employment status, adverse career characteristics), Concept 4 (Longitudinal analysis, life course analysis).

The search found 12,166 studies meeting the eligibility criteria, of which 7,008 studies were screened based on their titles, and of which 427 studies screened on their abstracts. 270 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility after screening, and 47 studies were quality assessed based on the risk of bias tool that was derived from the various checklists and criteria used in other systematic review.

Results suggest that lifetime employment continuum has an impact on the depressive symptoms of older adults, and policy strategies that target populations with specific course of employment history is needed, especially in the treatment of depression.