Gender and stress-buffering of social capital toward depression among precarious workers in South Korea

Hyunsung Oh, Soo Kyung Park

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Scopus citations


    BACKGROUND: Precarious work is featured with disadvantaged job conditions such as to employment contract, job description, and occupational environment, and has been recognized as an emerging social risk for mental health. Social capital deserves further attention, believed to buffer stress produced by precarious employment. Yet, recent evidence suggests that the mental health benefits of social capital vary by gender, as gender norms that oblige women to assume a caregiving burden may nullify the benefits of a richer social capital. OBJECTIVE: Our study focused on two types of social capital, bonding and bridging, testing their stress-buffering effects, as focusing on the posited gender-moderated effects of social capital. METHODS: We analyzed 333 precarious workers in South Korea. Chi-square tests and t-tests are used to compare socio-demographic factors, depressive symptoms, and daily stressors by gender. Multiple regression analyses were used to test significance of an interaction term between daily stress and sub-domains of social capital by gender. RESULTS: Male workers with higher bonding and higher bridging social capital reported lower depressive symptoms. Yet, female workers gained no direct benefit from higher bonding social capital and those with higher bridging social capital reported even higher depressive symptoms when their daily stress was lower. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the notion that social capital is not universally beneficial and female precarious workers lacking resources seem to suffer despite increased social participation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)53-62
    Number of pages10
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2020


    • Social network
    • daily stress
    • mental health

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Rehabilitation
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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