Stress and the gig economy: it's not all shifts and giggles

Ind Health. 2023 Apr 1;61(2):140-150. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2021-0217. Epub 2022 Mar 4.


Gig work is a type of contingent work which has increased markedly in recent times, and is characterised by uncertainty, unpredictability, and instability of both schedules and income earned. Gig workers are also likely to work for multiple platforms and/or employers. These work characteristics mean that performing gig work is associated with higher rates of stress than the general population (Madden et al. Pers Rev 2017). However, it is not currently known which strategies gig workers use to cope with this stress - including which strategies are likely to be effective. The aim of this study was to understand the relationship between coping strategies, number of employers and stress in gig workers. An online survey was completed by 49 gig workers. Validated questionnaires were administered to measure coping strategies (Brief COPE) and stress (Perceived Stress Scale-14). Approach coping strategies (active, planning, and social support) were associated with reduced stress (p<0.05), whereas the avoidant coping strategy of self-blame was associated with increased stress (p<0.05). No differences in stress were seen between gig workers with one employer and those with multiple employers. Findings suggest that some coping strategies may lower stress in gig workers, though long-term outcomes should be considered in future research.

Keywords: Coping strategies; Gig workers; Multiple employers; Stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires