Precarious Employment during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Disability-Related Discrimination, and Mental Health

Robyn Lewis Brown, Gabriele Ciciurkaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Drawing on separate strands of research documenting the psychological consequences of (a) precarious employment and other challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and (b) ableism, this study incorporates both into an examination of disability-based differences in the joint significance of discrimination and work precarity during the pandemic for mental health. Analyses utilizing data from a regional survey of people with and without disabilities in the Intermountain West (N = 2,012) provide evidence that precarious employment, greater discrimination, and disability independently predict depressive symptoms. Further, in the context of greater discrimination, more precarious employment is found to have greater significance for people with disabilities compared to those who are not currently disabled. These findings challenge us to think about how we engage in research concerning ableism and macro-level stressors, and underscore the role of power structures and positionality in shaping the psychological impact of employment challenges experienced during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-187
Number of pages21
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • COVID-19
  • ableism
  • disability
  • discrimination
  • mental health
  • precarious employment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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