Does initial job status affect midlife outcomes and mental health? Evidence from a survey in Japan
This article examined how initial job status following graduation affects the midlife outcomes and mental health of Japanese workers, using micro data from a nationwide Internet survey of 3,117 men and 2,818 women aged 30-60. The focus was the impact of initial job status on socioeconomic/marital status and mental health during midlife. It was found that failure to obtain regular employment at graduation raised probabilities of unstable job status throughout one’s life, low household income, unmarried status and psychological distress. The impact of initial job status on current mental health was not fully mediated by current socioeconomic/marital status, particularly for women. Unlike general observations from Europe, this study suggests that unstable initial job status signals a bad start for Japanese workers; it reduces opportunities for future success and has a traumatic effect on mental health.
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