Peter Butterworth, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University,
and colleagues started from the long-established premise that employment is associated with myriad health (including mental
health) benefits compared with unemployment. They said, however, that there has been "little direct comparison between the
health effects of unemployment and [those] of jobs of varying psychosocial quality, especially longitudinally." They noted
that "averse psychosocial work conditions such as high job demands, low decision latitude or control, job strain, a lack of
social support at work, effort-reward imbalance, and job insecurity are well-established risk factors for poor health." The
authors then sought to examine these characteristics in a longitudinal study of 7,155 working-age respondents to determine
if poor-quality jobs continue to maintain a stronger association with mental health than unemployment does.