The purpose of this study is to examine the protective effect of social support on psychological health and how it differs by gender in the context of part-time employment.Design/methodology/approachThe sample consisted of 22,786 employees from four service sector organisations. Structural equation modelling was used to test a moderated mediation model assessing the relationship between employment status (part-time vs full-time) and psychological health mediated by social support (from management and colleagues) and moderated by gender.FindingsSocial support from management and colleagues was associated with fewer symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Notably, management support had a stronger association than that of colleagues’ support on each of the three health-related variables. Social support was also found to be a mediator of part-time working on health such that lower social support led to increased health symptoms. Moreover, we found moderating gender effects between social support and psychological health such that colleague support had a stronger effect on reduced depression and stress among men than women whilst management support had a stronger effect on reduced anxiety for women. Finally, significant moderated mediating paths were found, but further research is needed to identify other potential moderators of the mediating effects.Originality/valueThe findings suggest complex relationships between part-time employment, social support, psychological health and gender not examined in previous studies. It highlights the value of diverse sources of support and the necessity of addressing specific gender's needs for enhancing psychological health of part-time employees.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 12, 2020
Keywords: Gender; Stress; Hours of work; Psychological well-being; Depression; Social support