Occupation type, family demands and mental health: analysis of linked administrative data.

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While employment generally promotes positive health and wellbeing, some jobs may be less salutogenic than others. Few studies have examined mental health across a range of broadly defined occupation types using a large population sample.

To examine the prevalence of mental health problems across a wide range of occupation types, and further examine the association of family demands, controlling for key social determinants and health-related factors.

We used linked administrative data from 2011 NI Census returns; NI Properties data; and Enhanced Prescribing Data (EPD) 2011/12. We examined self-reported mental health problems and receipt of psychotropic medication among 553,925 workers aged 25 and 59 years.

Self-reported chronic mental ill health was more prevalent among workers in lower paid occupations, while ‘public- facing’ occupations had the highest rates of medication. In fully adjusted models, informal caregivers were less likely to report mental health problems but more likely to be in receipt of psychotropic medication, as were lone parents. The association of family demands also varied across occupational groupings.

Future development of mental health at work plans should take cognisance of occupation specific mental health risk and wider family circumstances to support workers’ mental wellbeing most effectively.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Early online date6 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 6 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Administrative Data Research Network takes privacy protection very seriously. All information that directly identifies individuals will be removed from the datasets by trusted third parties, before researchers get to see it. All researchers using the Network are trained and accredited to use sensitive date safely and ethically, they will only access the data via a secure environment, and all of their findings will be vetted to ensure they adhere to the strictest confidentiality standards.The help provided by the staff of the Administrative Data Research Network Northern Ireland (ADRC-NI) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) Research Support Unit is acknowledged. The ADRC-NI is funded by the Economic and Research Council (ESRC). The authors alone are responsible for the interpretation of the data and any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ADRC-NI. The Census and Honest Broker Service/ Business Services Organisation data has been supplied for the sole purpose of this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Occupation
  • jobs
  • mental health
  • family demands


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