If the Amazon Turkers Are Representative of the “New” Economy, What Does it Mean for Mental Health Services?

Abstract

Objectives: The structure of formal economies has changed significantly in the past decade, making millions of people partly or wholly dependent on the “gig economy.” This study illustrates the different personality and psychological profile of this growing population group, and how it relates to a need for different mental health services. Design and Methods: A cross-sectional quantitative design method was used to engage 184 U.S.-based respondents on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an online freelance marketplace. The 149-item questionnaire included demographic questions, the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS), the Big Five Inventory-Short Version (BFI-10), and user perceptions of the advantages and concerns of online self-help therapy programs. Results: Indications are that the prevalence of ADHD in the participant sample is several multiples higher in the general population. More than three-quarters of respondents indicated potential clinical levels of psychological distress, as measured by the GHQ-12. The personality dimensions of extraversion and neuroticism were more marked than in general population groups, which could also be linked to a greater willingness to utilize online therapy and an increased need for mental health services, respectively. Conclusions: Most participants are willing to consider online therapy or self-help services as an alternative to traditional face-to-face therapy, citing convenience and low cost as attractive features. Those who were unwilling or less inclined to consider e-therapy, mentioned concerns about credibility and lack of personal contact as reasons. Thus, online mental health services have an increasingly important role to play in the new economic structures.



Author Information
Michiel Bosman, Open Forest, United States
Joan Swart, Open Forest, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2017
Stream: Qualitative/Quantitative Research in any other area of Psychology

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