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Perceived workplace discrimination on the basis of parent status in Australia: who is vulnerable and how does it link to mothers' and fathers' mental health?

OBJECTIVE: This study focused on employees' perceived discrimination due to parenthood; and mental health, occupational stress and turnover intention.

METHODS: Survey (2016) of an Australian convenience sample of employed parents: women (n = 2950) and men (n = 1318).

RESULTS: Forty-two percent of all mothers reported missing out on promotion (n = 1,234/2950); one third reported negative comments from managers (n = 805/2950, 27%) or colleagues (n = 832/2950, 28%). One in five fathers reported these forms of discrimination. In adjusted analyses perceived discrimination was associated with poorer mental health (β = 0.23, p < .001); higher occupational stress (β = 0.30, p < .001); and increased odds of turnover intention (aOR = 1.5, p < .001) for mothers; and poorer mental health (β = 0.34, p < .001); stress (β = 0.35, p < .001); and increased odds of turnover intention (aOR = 1.7, p < .001) for fathers.

CONCLUSIONS: Experiences of negativity and hostility at work are common, and link to employee health and wellbeing.

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