Household food insufficiency, financial strain, work-family spillover, and depressive symptoms in the working class: the Work, Family, and Health Network study.

Citation:

Okechukwu CA, El Ayadi AM, Tamers SL, Sabbath EL, Berkman L. Household food insufficiency, financial strain, work-family spillover, and depressive symptoms in the working class: the Work, Family, and Health Network study. Am J Public Health. 2012;102(1):126-33.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the association of household-level stressors with depressive symptoms among low-wage nursing home employees. METHODS: Data were collected in 2006 and 2007 from 452 multiethnic primary and nonprimary wage earners in 4 facilities in Massachusetts. We used logistic regression to estimate the association of depressive symptoms with household financial strain, food insufficiency, and work-family spillover (preoccupation with work-related concerns while at home and vice versa). RESULTS: Depressive symptoms were significantly associated with household financial strain (odds ratio [OR] = 1.82; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03, 3.21) and food insufficiency (OR = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.10, 4.18). Among primary earners, stratified analyses showed that food insufficiency was associated with depressive symptoms (OR = 3.60; 95% CI = 1.42, 9.11) but financial strain was not. Among nonprimary wage earners, depressive symptoms correlated with financial strain (OR = 3.65; 95% CI = 1.48, 9.01) and work-family spillover (OR = 3.22; 95% CI = 1.11, 9.35). CONCLUSIONS: Household financial strain, food insufficiency, and work-family spillover are pervasive problems for working populations, but associations vary by primary wage earner status. The prevalence of food insufficiency among full-time employees was striking and might have a detrimental influence on depressive symptoms and the health of working-class families.