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Precarious Parental Employment and Use of Alcohol or Substance during COVID-19

Jake Hart, Wen-Jui Han
Published: 1 January 2021
Sociology Mind , Volume 11, pp 33-51; doi:10.4236/sm.2021.112004

Abstract: As labor markets have become increasingly volatile, more workers are susceptible to conditions that threaten their economic security. COVID-19 has further laid bare such economic insecurity with far-reaching implications for coping skills and strategies. Using a cross-sectional dataset collected in May 2020 in the United States, we examined how precarious jobs were associated with alcohol or substance use among parents during the pandemic and if mental distress could explain such a link. Our multivariate regression analysis confirms that holding a job with precarious characteristics, such as feeling defenseless to authoritarian treatment at the workplace, was significantly associated with mental distress and doubled the probability of using alcohol or substance amid COVID-19. And mental distress might help explain such an association. Our analysis underscored the vulnerability faced by our workforce and how a public health crisis magnified the dire consequences of precarious employment on risky health behaviors.
Keywords: Alcohol or Substance Use / COVID-19 / Mental Health / Pandemic / Precarious Parental Employment

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